Tag Archives: food tax

Here we go again: raising taxes on food

We  have long written here on the issue of taxes on food by the legislature to fund other areas.

This year is no exception to the head rearing of this ugly issue.

Bill Tibbitts of Crossroads Urban Center, an organization advocating for the rights of the poor, says:

Utah Representative Mike "Nuclear" Noel is proposing to double the sales tax on food to fund a cut to property taxes– which will disproportionately benefit large businesses– like one of the nuclear power plants Noel wants to bring to Utah.

Read Nuclear Noel’s bill here:

Nuclear Noel is also a proud supporter of bringing nuclear power plants to Utah:

Utah is among the few states that charge people to eat.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that in 2009:

  • Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia exempt most food purchased for consumption at home from the state sales tax. South Carolina is the state that most recently eliminated its sales tax on food (effective November 1, 2007).
  • Seven states tax groceries at lower rates than other goods; they are Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Five states — Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota— tax groceries fully but offer credits or rebates offsetting some of the taxes paid on food by some portions of the population. These credits or rebates usually are set at a flat amount per family member. The amounts and eligibility rules vary, but may be too narrow and/or insufficient to give eligible households full relief from sales taxes paid on food purchases.
  • Two states continue to apply their sales tax fully to food purchased for home consumption without providing any offsetting relief for low- and moderate-income families. They are Alabama and Mississippi.

The bottom line is that no one should have to pay extra for what is necessary for survival.  Eating is one of those necessities.  The food tax should be taken away entirely.

(Cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Utah Republicans decide to support food tax cut….but raise taxes elsewhere

A step in the right direction: Utah lawmakers consider axing food sales tax.

Repealing the food sales tax has been on the political agenda for more than 30 years but hasn’t been able to get through the Republican controlled legistlature here in Utah. Yesterday lawmakers, republicans included, finally recognized that this is an issue that needs serious examination.

The “catch” is, though, that there would be a revunue loss of $260 million.

So there is a proposal to raise tax on non-food items by 0.6 of a percentage point statewide.

These were some concerns cited in the article:
The proposal also was met with mixed response from advocacy groups present at the meeting. Advocates for the poor strongly favor it, while the Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Utah Association of Counties are strongly opposed without some sort of mitigation for the revenue losses.
There was also concern from Utah Issues, however, that focusing efforts on the complete removal of the sales tax could push the tax credit aside and that the end result will be nothing gets done.

Conservatives don’t want to lose their expected tax cuts and some businesses say it will hurt them.

Repealing the food tax is a good thing and long overdue. Governor Huntsman is looking at ways low-income Utah citizens will benefit from tax breaks. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and who the changes will negatively affect the most. You can bet it won’t be the wealthy.