Report: Tax exemptions cost Utah $426 million last year

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As Utah lawmakers get ready to consider scaling back some of the state’s 90 sales tax exemptions, a report estimates that the state missed out on about $426 million in the last budget year due to tax exemptions.

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah lawmakers get ready to consider scaling back some of the state’s 90 sales tax exemptions, a report estimates that the state missed out on about $426 million in the last budget year due to tax exemptions that range from aviation fuel to college text books.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert had urged lawmakers to scrutinize tax policies during the recently completed legislative session in hopes of freeing up some money for education and other spending needs. Although lawmakers considered several changes, they backed away in the session’s final days before any bill made it through the Legislature.

They’re expected to spend some time this summer studying the state’s exemptions and many other aspects of its tax policy.

Exemptions can be extremely valuable tools to spur the state’s economic growth, said Billy Hesterman, vice president of Utah Taxpayers Association, a nonprofit taxpayer watchdog group.

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