2018 Bills

HB 293: A $125 Million Property Tax Increase

This bill passed the House with a vote of 50-23 and passed the Senate with a vote of 25-3.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it violates our principles and must therefore be opposed.

Increasing funding for K-12 education has been a major topic in Utah for the last few years. We recently released a policy brief discussing the consequences of increasing taxes to pay for education and how Utah’s over $16 billion budget contains plenty of waste that can be eliminated and the resulting funds used for K-12 education.

Unfortunately, Representative Brad Last is running House Bill 293 which would create a massive property tax increase by freezing the basic tax rate that adjusts downward as property values increase. By 2022, it would balloon to over $125 million in added taxes per year. This would add to the $75 million property tax increase that was already passed in 2015.

While the merits of property tax equalization in order to create more equity in funding for students in poorer districts will continue to be debated, the conversation should not involve a $125 million property tax increase. One can simply look at Senate Bill 145 for an alternative that contains no property tax increase.

  • Jennie E.

    While I agree with the stand Libertas has taken on HB 293, I disagree that SB 145 would be a good alternate. The funds referenced in SB 145 are funds that are and were voted on by local communities allowing them to decide on their local tax burden. It is true that the taxes gathered in one community won’t be the same as another, but this decision was a community decision made by voters. The equalization in SB 145 bill only addresses approximately 36,000,000. This amount is .9% of a 4billion dollar budget. And to this last point, It won’t equalize fund discrepancies.

    • Jim S.

      Get rid of property taxes entirely! That’s where we should be moving.

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