Several news outlets reported last week that a Utah Transit Authority official asked state lawmakers for a sixty-six percent increase in its share of sales tax revenue. A UTA spokesman now says those reports are inaccurate.
The Utah Transit Authority posted a statement on its website over the weekend that says it wasn’t asking for an increase in sales tax at the Transportation Interim Committee meeting last week. UTA Spokesperson Remi Barron says a representative of the transit authority attended the meeting to go over a plan for future transportation projects. The committee asked UTA’s representative how its prospective projects might be funded.
“That would most likely have to come from an increase in sales tax, but it wasn’t our representative going down there asking for an increase,” says Barron
He says UTA officials could recommend a sales tax increase to one cent for every dollar spent, but formally asking for one isn’t that simple.
“We would have to hear from state lawmakers obviously, but also local government entities would have to weigh in,” says Barron.
Since different counties pay different percentages of sales tax to UTA according to usage and ridership, the recommended increase would affect certain areas of the state in different ways. Salt Lake County’s portion of sales tax that goes toward UTA is about twenty percent higher than the amount contributed by Weber, Davis and Utah Counties. Ultimately, voters would need to approve any increase in sales tax.