Dear Friends & Constituents,
The final week of the General Session is upon us.
From education to tax cuts, we’ve addressed a diverse range of issues by passing 388 impactful bills so far. I look forward to finishing strong as we ensure the people of Utah are well-represented in these final few days.
In this week’s recap, we’ll cover some of the important progress that was made during week six.
The Largest Tax Cut in State History
Allowing Utahns to keep more of their hard-earned money is a high-priority concern for so many of us in the legislature. We have reduced taxes by nearly $300 million over the past two years, and we aren’t stopping there. The Utah House passed H.B. 54 Tax Revisions, the largest tax cut in state history, providing an additional $400 million in tax relief. To learn more about the tax cut, I encourage you to listen to this week’s episode of our House podcast here.
Updated Budget Estimates
The Governor’s Office and Utah State Legislature released updated revenue numbers for the state fiscal year 2023-24. Although the revenue growth reflects the strength and momentum of our state’s economy, we are still committed to prudent planning for the future.
We were tasked with deliberating on the estimated $817 million in one-time and $410 million in ongoing money combined in the General and Income Tax Funds (after accounting for base budget adjustments and set-asides). Read about the budget estimates here.
Sales Tax on Food
Removing the sales tax on food has been top of mind for Utahns. Knowing this, the House passed H.B. 101 Food Sales Tax Amendments. This legislation would remove the state portion of sales tax on food on the condition of the approval of S.J.R. 10., which removes the constitutional earmark for income tax revenue.
Currently, the Utah Constitution mandates that all revenue from income tax be used only for certain items. Eliminating the sales tax on food would not be possible without addressing these budget constraints.
If passed by the full Legislature, voters will have the opportunity to approve these changes on the 2024 ballot. Read more here.
I’m pleased to report that my bill regarding school grading modifications passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee. H.B. 308 removes the requirement on the State Board of Education to use a letter grade to assign a school an overall rating.
H.B. 465 also passed in the House Education Committee, which addresses transparency regarding materials accessible to students in public school libraries. This bill requires local education agencies to provide an online platform that allows parents to view information regarding materials their child borrows from the school library.
Finally, H.B. 288, a bill that creates certain requirements for the dispensing of opioids, was passed in the Health and Human Services Committee. It requires a pharmacist who dispenses opioids to provide patient counseling on the use and availability of opioid antagonists. Plus, it requires a health care provider who prescribes opioids to include a prescription for an opioid antagonist under certain circumstances.
Remember, you can view all of the bills I’ve sponsored and learn more about each of them here.
As we move into the final week of the session, I encourage you to stay engaged in the political process. Continue following the latest developments here, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your trust and confidence. It is truly a privilege to serve the residents of District 65.
Representative Doug Welton