by Bill Tibbitts
At the time of writing this blog post, Representative Tim Quinn's bill is number 57 on the list of bills in line for a final vote in the House of Representatives. It is very likely it will make its way to the top of the list before the end of this week. That means today is a very good day to contact your Representative and share some of the facts found below. If you do not know who you representative is you can find out by entering your address and zip code on this page of the state legislative website: https://le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp
This week it is also very likely that there will be a committee discussion about a bill raising Utah's minimum wage for tipped employees from $2.13 per hour to $3.25 per hour. This hearing may be the only opportunity to ask legislators to raise the wages paid to low income workers this session. We may only get 24 hours notice of when it will take place. If you would like to be notified when the hearing is scheduled join the CORC Multi-Faith Advocates Group on Facebook or let me know that you would like to receive an email, text or phone call.
A group of CORC members are planning to go to the Capitol on Thursday morning at 10:45 to talk to legislators about one or both of these bills. You are absolutely invited to come with us.
Key Facts about food tax bill
1) Rep. Tim Quinn's HB 148 passed 8-3 in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on Wednesday, February 7 and should be voted on this week.
2) HB 148 would eliminate the state portion of the sales tax on food, cutting the total rate from 3.0 percent to 1.25 percent. The bill is revenue neutral for state government because it increases the tax on nonfood items by 0.22 percent.
3) HB 148 will be a tax cut for most families in Utah because: a) it cuts the rate on food by 7.95 times more than in increases the tax on non-food items, b) housing and healthcare costs are already exempt from sales tax, and c) most families do not spend $795 on clothes for every $100 they spend at the grocery store.
4) HB 148 helps low income families the most because, on average, they spend 30 percent of their income on food.
5 Only 13 states charge sales tax on food purchases at the grocery store.
Key facts about server's wage bill
1) Rep. Brian King's HB 118 would raise the minimum wage paid to tipped employees from $2.13 per hour to $3.25 per hour.
2) The minimum wage for tipped employees has not been adjusted in Utah since the last time it was raised at the federal level, in 1991.
3) 71.5 percent of Utah’s tipped employees are women
4) 17.4 percent of female tipped employees in Utah are in poverty:
Meanwhile, President Trump today unveiled his budget which includes cuts to housing programs, ideas for "welfare reform" and an infrastructure plan that gets its funding from these cuts to the safety net. Read more about this proposal here:
White House budget proposes increase to defense spending and cuts to safety net, but federal deficit would remain
Trump Infrastructure Plan Wants to Stop ‘Overreliance’ on Federal Money
Vote on bill cutting food tax in House this week, discussion of minimum wage for tipped employees in committee. Meanwhile President Trump has a new budget proposal
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