The Next Tax Battle

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Most of the tax proposals recently on state ballots would have, if approved, made state tax systems less progressive, but a new proposed ballot question in Utah would do the opposite. There, an initiative is being promoted by a group called the Rings True Coalition who are rightly aghast at the inherent unfairness of their state's single rate tax structure. Their proposal would replace that single rate tax structure with a six-bracket progressive income tax. It's not news to us that a flat rate income tax is not fair to low income folks. Doug MacDonald, a former chief economist for the Utah State Tax Commission brings this point home when he offered examples to the Deseret News of several low-income folks who actually saw their tax bill increase when the flat tax went into effect. He says, "The effect of the flat tax is that it's unfair, random and has unintended consequences." As our most recent policy brief explains, the progressive income tax is an essential element of a fair and sustainable tax system. We'll keep our eyes on the Beehive State for what could become the next big tax policy fight.

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