On Tuesday March 2nd the Utah House of Representatives passed House Bill 196, a tax increase on cigarettes of $1 a pack.  This tax increase is estimated to pull more than $40 million a year from the pockets of Utahns (transferring revenue from the private sector to the government coffers).  Click here to see which House members voted for this tax increase. 

This past Friday, the same bill went to the Senate Floor and was passed.  To see who voted for this tax increase, click here.   
In voting for these tax increases, three legislators broke the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a commitment that they had made to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”  Those that broke their commitment to the taxpayers are: Sen. Wayne Neiderhouser, Sen. Curtis Bramble, and Rep. Gage Froerer.
Now the bill will move to Gov. Herbert’s desk.  Consistent with Utah’s well-known tradition of fiscal responsibility, Gov. Herbert has declared that the best path through the current budget problem is “to exercise continued fiscal restraint and to not raise taxes.”
If signed, not only will this tax increase be pulling money from the pockets of taxpayers in order to fund more government spending, but it will likely be detrimental to business.  Over the next two years it is estimated that this tax increase could cost retailers and businesses $108 million in revenue.   
Americans for Tax Reform urges the Governor to correct the mistake of the legislature and to veto HB 196 and any other tax increases that may come across his desk.  The Utah government needs to follow the example of Utah families, finding ways to tighten its belt during these economically tough times, rather than by seeking to raise taxes.
To see ATR’s press release bringing to light those that broke there Pledge and urging Governor Herbert to veto this tax increase as it crosses his desk, click here.