Americans for Tax Reform president in Utah to discuss local reform efforts

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A legislative task force is traveling the state to get feedback from the public on possible tax reform.

Friday, an expert with a global perspective is in town sharing some ideas.

State leaders say everything is on the table as they consider ways to reform the tax system in our state.

Their decision could have a huge impact on our daily finances.

That’s why local organizations and citizens are keeping a close eye on the process.

“We’re looking for that reasonable approach where we don’t end up increasing taxes on people or create a structure that’s so cumbersome it results in a net increase,” said Sutherland Institute president Rick Larsen.

To help further the conversation, the Sutherland Institute is hosting Grover Norquist.

He is president of Americans for Tax Reform, a group created by President Ronald Reagan.

He says one of the first steps for any state government considering tax reform should be to look within.

“Focus as much on what the government spends, and how much, and whether it can competently do better,” said Norquist.

He also says it’s crucial to consider the unintended consequences.

“How difficult is it, what does the paperwork cost, what’s the time cost, what’s the dead weight cost on certain taxes on small businessmen and women and on individuals.”

And, he says even if the plan is revenue neutral, it won’t sit well with citizens if they are paying taxes on things they haven’t in the past.

One of the ideas drawing harsh criticism in our state is taxing a broad range of services.

Norquist says that can be costly for politicians.

He points to Bob Martinez, a former governor of Florida as an example.

“Got wiped out the next election because people say it as a massive tax increase on many, many, many products and services they had never been taxed on before,” Norquist said.

The task force still has two town hall meetings left in Moab and Lehi.


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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...

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