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Tax proposal agreement framework announced

News Release
February 24, 2006

SALT LAKE CITY - Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., Senate President John Valentine, Speaker Greg Curtis and legislative leadership from both sides of the aisle are proud to announce a framework for an agreement on a budget and tax reform plan that will allow them to move forward in addressing the needs of our state while achieving meaningful tax reform based on sound tax policy.

This agreement comes after long hours of intense negotiation from everyone involved in an effort to do what is best for the people and State of Utah.

"It is time for Utahns to have a better tax system, one that is both competitive and compassionate and provides for the needs of our children's education," Huntsman said. "This is what communication is about: gaining an understanding of the different views and embracing positions that all can accept."

The agreed upon proposal for ongoing money is as follows:
Total allocated for Tax Cuts:
$70 million reduction in the sales tax on food
$70 million reduction in the income tax
$20 million in economic development incentives
Totaling $160 million

Other ongoing budgetary agreements include $8 million for water priorities, $90 million for roads, $20 million more in education's Weighted Pupil Unit for a total 6 percent increase and $78 million for committee priorities.

"This is a step in the right direction," Valentine said. "I sincerely appreciate all those who have invested time and intellectual power to defend and improve Utah's sound tax policy."

One-time money has not yet been appropriated and will be part of the continued debate next week. The Legislature ends Wednesday.

"I am glad we are able to move forward with a proposal to give Utahns some tax relief, both in the form of sales tax on food and in the income tax area," Curtis said.

The $70 million reduction in the sales tax on food will equate about a 2 percent reduction in the state's 4.75 percent tax on food. The income tax reduction will drop the income tax rate from 7 percent to around 5 percent.

Contacts: Governor's Office: Mike Mower, Deputy Chief of Staff, 538.1924, 541.1981 Senate: Ric Cantrell, Public Relations ,538.1407, 647.8944 House: Kate Bradshaw, Majority Public Relations, 538.1936, 550.1373

News Conference Agenda:

Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. - Will outline the proposal

Followed by comments from:
Senate President John Valentine
Speaker Greg Curtis
Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich
House Minority Leader Ralph Becker

The speakers will then be open to questions

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