Proposition One - Local Option Sales Tax

October 9, 2016
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah - + Video – It’s was nearly twenty years ago that the Utah Legislature last addressed transportation issues in the state. Because of recent actions, voters in Washington County will now have the opportunity to vote on a new sales tax on November 8, to help fund transportation and transit services into the future. Proposition 1 is a local option sales tax that would apply to non-food items, exempting prescription drugs. If passed, the .25% tax would go into effect April 1, 2017. The tax amounts to one penny on every four dollar purchase on taxable items.

The 2016 Utah State Legislature passed the local option sales tax as a tool to help offset losses in gas tax revenues, which have been declining in recent years. This is partly due to lower gas prices, as well as more fuel efficient vehicles. The gas tax money is primarily used for building and maintaining Utah’s roadways. If passed by Washington County voters, local entities plan to spend the new sales tax money on necessary road improvements and additions, as well as building up the area transit bus system. The revenue would be divided among the county, cities and towns in accordance with Utah law.

An estimated $3 million in annual revenue could be gained by the tax, which local public works directors say isn’t a lot of money when it comes to maintaining roads. Around 50% of that money would be spent on the public transportation system. Those who use the Suntran Transit system regularly, believe the extra funding would make their lives much easier The biggest draw to the tax is that like the gas tax, everyone who shops or dines here will be helping to pay for the roads. While city representatives would gladly welcome the tax, others questions where the money will be spent.  Opponents to the new sales tax aren’t ready to pay more for what they don’t use. And, once a tax is in place, it’s typically permanent.