Utahns can expect to pay more property and gas taxes in the near future. Governor Gary Herbert signed off on a pair of tax increases that are the state's biggest in nearly 20 years.
Come July, the average homeowner in Utah will pay about $50 more annually in property taxes. In January next year, the gas tax will increase by 5 cents a gallon. Billy Hesterman, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, says his group is disappointed.
“The governor had an opportunity here to protect taxpayers, but he chose not to,” Hesterman says. “He decided to move forward and increase the tax burden on Utah taxpayers. That has left us in a state where we’re going to be paying higher taxes come our property tax bill this year and higher tax at the gas pump.”
Governor Gary Herbert said in his monthly news conference at KUED earlier this month that increases approved by the Utah Legislature will fund sorely needed improvements to transportation and education.
“Most people don’t want to have their taxes go up. I get it. I understand that,” Herbert said. “I’m grateful we live in a state where our tax liability in Utah all things considered is about the tenth lowest in America, but you have to pay for the services that we the people want to have.”
The gas tax hike is expected to bring in more than $100 million over the next two years to maintain roads and replace aging bridges. Under the new law, the tax will eventually rise and fall with the price of gas.
Governor Herbert said in a statement Friday that the new money from gas taxes will allow the legislature to limit the growth in the earmark for transportation funding and devote more revenue to public education. The property tax increase will also raise funds for education and is intended to equalize the funding between districts.
Property and gas taxes have not increased in Utah since the 1990’s.