Utah implemented an optional flat tax plan for its residents, beginning in the 2007 tax year. Under the plan, residents can choose to pay taxes at 6.98% with deductions or 5.35% without deductions. I doubt this will be the most effective way to win over flat tax dissenters, since “the poor” wouldn’t want no deductions, but the specifics can be analyzed at another time. For now, it’s just interesting that a state is trying. Maybe it makes the government better, maybe it makes it worse. We’ll find out, but residents have a choice. I consider that a good start.
What’s less encouraging is this:
The legislature also approved a local optional sales tax hike to meet transportation needs. …
Utah State Senator Ed Mayne, a Democrat and the minority caucus manager, said the state needs tax reform but said money was taken from public education. “I’m very, very disappointed,” he said.
I’m sure State Sen. Mayne is sincere, but redirecting state tax revenue from public education to public transportation doesn’t mean that education will suffer. Surely local governments can raise additional revenue through tax increases if local taxpayers deem their schools insufficiently funded. In that view State Sen. Mayne’s disappointment seems aimed more at decreased state control than at the potential harm to education within Utah. That seems misguided to me, but I don’t think that unlimited wishes for public expenditures implies that every wish should be funded. That’s especially true when the discussion involves state versus local provision.