Victories From the 61st Utah Legislature (2015-2016)

Date: August 24, 2015 Last Edit: July 04, 2016

It took two special sessions, but when the 61st Utah State Legislature finally adjourned in May 2016, NFIB came away with some important victories for small business.

From the 2016 half

Stopped Mandatory Minimum-Wage Increase
NFIB stopped, for the third consecutive year, a bill that would have increased the minimum wage in Utah. This year the sponsor was asking for an increase to $12 an hour for private and public employees. The legislation would have tied future increases to the Consumer Price Index every year after. If the CPI went down, however, the minimum wage would stay the same.

Excluded Business Personal Property Tax as New Growth
NFIB was successful in getting legislation passed that stopped Business Personal Property from being counted as new growth. New growth is counted by the taxing entities as additional revenue for determining future budgets.

Required Uniform Reporting of Business Personal Property Tax
NFIB was instrumental in securing funding and a requirement for all 29 counties in the state of Utah to provide a uniform system statewide for reporting Business Personal Property Tax. The system is to be an online system that will allow a business that owns business personal property in more than one county to report and pay taxes for all the counties with one report and submission.

From the 2015 half

Won a 2-percent lowering of the unemployment insurance tax rate
Since 2012, NFIB was instrumental in lowering the rate from 9.4 percent down to 7.4 percent and was able to maintain the reduction for this year. This gives incentives to business owners to grow and invest more in their business and employees.

Secured a cut in the Business Personal Property Tax
NFIB was instrumental in creating an exemption for purchases of $1,000 or less and eliminated the tax for businesses with $10,000 or less of business personal property
Led the successful passage of a balanced budget amendment
By contributing strategy and tactics, NFIB was instrumental in winning passage of bill that makes Utah one of 27 states calling on Congress to allow for a convention of states for the purpose of amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget. The full story can be read here.
Stopped mandatory minimum wage increase
House Bill 309 attempted to raise the minimum wage to $10.25 and then tie it to the Consumer Price Index, which would have allowed it to rise with inflation every other year. The bill would also have created a commission to set the minimum wage for minors and inserted a coordinating clause for House Bill 236, which removed the exemption for tipped employees, requiring them to be paid the new minimum wage of $10.25 an hour as well—plus tips. NFIB stopped both bills quickly by reminding legislators that the minimum wage is an entry-level wage, earned primarily by teens and young adults starting out on their work lives, and that increasing it only eliminates opportunities to enter the workforce.
Defeated proposed increases in gas and water taxes
NFIB helped defeat measures to increase the sales taxes on gasoline and water. Proposed increases were stopped in their originating committees thanks to intense lobbying from NFIB. 
Prevented plan to broaden sales tax to include new services
NFIB stopped the extension of sales tax to additional services, such as bookkeeping, haircuts, and legal fees.

Related Content: Small Business Victories | Utah

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