Poll: More than three-quarters of Utahans want state to eliminate food tax

How far does Marriott Slatersville Housewife Lisa Conley support eliminating the state sales tax from food?

Her support isn’t just strong, she said, it’s “extremely” strong.

“It’s going to help everyone. Food prices are so high that every little bit helps,” said the 59-year-old woman, who is in Montana, one of more than 30 states that doesn’t have a sales tax. I remember when I lived there, sales tax wasn’t added to my grocery bill. food.

“It makes a difference,” said Conley.

A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found that 76% of Utah want to eliminate the state’s food tax burden. This represents his 1.75% of the 3% sales tax imposed on food in Utah since 2008, with the rest being distributed. to local government.

Only 19% of Utahans opposed removing the state’s share of the food tax, and 6% said they weren’t sure how they felt.

But Utahans still disagree on whether they would still support abolishing the state food tax if it meant that an amendment to the Utah Constitution that would abolish the state income tax allocation for education would have to be approved first. are divided.

Only 47% of Utahans said they would be happy to support the amendments already approved by the Utah legislature.

At the same time, 43% said no to the deal legislators put together for voters in the last session — passing a constitutional amendment in next year’s general election, which would remove the state sales tax from food in January 2025.

The poll was conducted April 25-28 by Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute of Political Science at the University of Utah among 800 registered voters in Utah with an error of ±3.46 percent.


Conley said it may not be worthwhile for voters to pass the amendment to save money at the cash register.

“Why should[voters]do it in the first place? Are they connected?” “It’s very confusing,” he said.

Conley said she was concerned about the impact of the amendments on school funding. It was knowing that even if the amendment was passed, it would still apply.

“Then I don’t know if I’ll take it off,” said Conley. “I don’t know if it doesn’t benefit us as much and makes the school system shrink. Maybe they should just leave it alone.”


Lisa Conley makes sandwiches at her Marriott Slaterville home on Friday, May 5, 2023.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute for Political Studies, said poll results “show a lot of explanation needed” ahead of the November 2024 vote on constitutional reform.

“It’s too close to call at this point,” Perry said.

“Utah clearly supports eliminating the sales tax on food. Every party, every demographic seems to want it gone. added that support would “drop dramatically” once the amendments became part of the plan.

The same is true for Republicans. Polls show that just over half of Utahans who belong to the state’s dominant political party currently support a Republican-dominated Congress, while only one-third of the state’s Democrats support him. Is not …

Still, Perry said tying the bill to the elimination of the food tax would make it more acceptable. He noted that a March Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found that 50% of Utah citizens opposed the amendment itself, while only 36% supported it.

Perry said knowing that the state sales tax would be cut from food if the amendment passed would “obviously boost support.” Whether that’s the case remains to be seen as voters learn more from the amendment’s supporters and opponents, he said.

“What they really want is no sales tax,” Perry said. “But how bad is it? What are voters willing to take to get it?”

Senator Dan McKay, R-Riverton, the originator of the constitutional amendment, was encouraged by the results of the poll.


Lisa Conley pictured at her Marriott Slaterville home on Friday, May 5, 2023.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“When I look at these numbers, I am very hopeful. Honestly, these numbers give me a lot more hope than I thought I would at this point. “I think it’s very positive for everyone in the state,” McKay said. “It’s a great place.”

State senators said poll questions made clear funding guarantees for the amendments, including increased student enrollment and inflation, although changes could be made before they are reflected in next year’s ballot. He said the support would be higher.

“New polls highlight that it’s a tough decision, but people are more willing to give Congress budget flexibility if given the chance to eliminate the food sales tax. It shows,” McKay said.

Without the flexibility to spend income tax revenues on the needs of other states, the state cannot afford to remove its share of the food tax, which is now largely funded by collecting sales taxes, he said. .

McKay said the state will try to educate the public about the amendment before the vote. What that will look like is still in the planning stages, but in McCay’s experience, voters who didn’t understand the polling questions typically voted against it.

“It’s always difficult to get complete information on poll questions,” McKay said. “Most people do their homework, get educated about the issue, and try to make an informed decision.”

Rep. Rosemary Lesser said she supports removing the food tax but said she’s still making up her mind on the amendment. That is one of our main responsibilities.”

“We still have a lot of work to do in this area,” said Ogden Democrats, who unsuccessfully tried to remove a provision linking the elimination of the food tax to the passing of the amendment during the last floor debate.

Lesser believes legislators need to realize, “Yes, people want the state portion of the sales tax removed. Recognizing the simultaneous commitment is very important.”


Lisa Conley pulls sandwich ingredients out of the refrigerator at her home in Marriott Slaterville on Friday, May 5, 2023.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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