Wise Counsel from the Utah Tax Review Commission: End the Earmarks

18 November 2015 Written by  

Voices for Utah Children commends the Utah Legislature for reactivating the Utah Tax Review Commission to consider the impact of earmarks on the state budget.  The Utah Tax Review Commission has completed its analysis, including developing a set of objective criteria for evaluating earmarks. Their recommendation: 15 of the 16 sales tax earmarks need to go.

A year ago, a Voices for Utah Children report found that children have been the losers in Utah’s earmarking trend.  Utah’s General Fund has been undermined due to a nearly 1200% increase in earmarks during the past decade. All of these earmarks are unfunded earmarks, meaning that they weren’t created with new revenue sources to finance them, even though they are dedicated to addressing newly identified public investment needs. Instead, they divert resources from other priorities such as education, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and aid to the needy and disabled.

Earmarking ties policymakers’ hands so they can’t adapt to the evolving needs of the state’s ever-growing and ever-changing economy and population.  We hope that the Utah Legislature will heed the advice of the Utah Tax Review Commission and restore these dollars to the General Fund.

Utah earmarks graph


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

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We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

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Matthew Weinstein 300Matthew Weinstein, State Priorities Partnership Director, joined the organization in 2014. As State Fiscal Policy Director, he conducts analysis and advocacy focused on the state budget from the perspective of what's best for Utah's children. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College.