Salt Lake City, UT (January 17, 2017) — Last month, Libertas Institute filed a GRAMA request seeking a copy of the “confidential” tax agreement between the State of Utah and Amazon. The request was denied.
We appealed the decision to the executive director of the Utah State Tax Commission and yesterday received a denial, citing 63G-2-305(1) and (2)—provisions of GRAMA law that allow the government to keep a document “protected” for reasons of protecting “trade secrets” or avoiding “competitive injury.” See the denial here.
The following statement may be attributed to Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute:
After failed attempts to deputize out-of-state companies as tax collectors for the state, Governor Herbert and the Utah State Tax Commission have somehow persuaded Amazon to voluntarily collect the tax and keep a piece of the pie for themselves.
Taxpayers have a right to know what terms their government agreed to in order to have Amazon collect a tax that they are not legally required to. This agreement should be made public for all to see.
GRAMA law allows a “protected” document to be made public if “the interests favoring access are greater than or equal to the interest favoring restriction of access.” Libertas Institute believes that applies in this case, given the widespread attention, controversy, and substantial amount of tax money being collected by Amazon.
Libertas Institute is discussing the case with several attorneys and will decide this week whether to appeal the GRAMA request to the State Records Committee.