Special session of Utah Legislature will consider online sales tax, massive shipping hub

Utah Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah, date unspecified. | Photo courtesy of AndreyKrav via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has called the Legislature into a special session to approve revisions for a planned massive shipping hub in Salt Lake City that has drawn the ire of the capital city’s mayor, he said Monday.

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet Wednesday to vote on the plan, which Herbert called a “win-win.”

They will also vote on a measure regarding online sales taxes, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing states to force shoppers to pay the taxes. Some major retailers including Amazon and Airbnb have already agreed to add taxes to their sales in Utah, but the state estimates that it could collect an additional $60 million from other companies.

It’s unclear how lawmakers will act on online sales taxes, though they have previously earmarked $55 million of any online sales tax collected in Utah for a tax break for manufacturers.

The new shipping hub proposal will make changes to a plan the Legislature approved earlier this year creating a 20,000-acre facility to store and transfer goods traveling from seaports on the West Coast and elsewhere onto trucks and railcars headed throughout the country. The plan stirred opposition from local officials who called it a power grab by Republican state officials that will clog their neighborhoods with traffic and blanket them in smog.

Herbert and other state officials had reached their new revisions after negotiations with members of the Salt Lake City Council, they said.

The revisions will reduce the size of the proposed facility in northwest Salt Lake City, protect nearby wetlands, adjust tax provisions and dedicate money to affordable housing.

“We’ve been able to address our consistent concerns in this draft bill to a great extent,” said council chairwoman Erin Mendenhall.

Yet the plan appeared to have been reached without support from Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, a Democrat. She had previously entered into negotiations with Herbert’s office about the facility but failed to reach a deal.

Biskupski’s office will review the new plan and listen to comments from her constituents, spokesman Matthew Rojas said. He called the bill “questionable” and accused lawmakers of rushing through the process without appropriate public input.

Lawmakers said they will have a chance to hear public input on the proposal before voting on it Wednesday.

Written by JULIAN HATTEM, Associated Press.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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8 Comments

  • Not_So_Much July 17, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Now would be a good time to get in touch with your legislators.

  • RadRabbit July 17, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Shipping hub sounds like a good move for sure. As far as the taxes well, is what it is. I don’t think any of us thought the tax free purchases online would go on forever.

  • comments July 17, 2018 at 9:40 am

    tax tax tax. Always taxing the hell out of us in this state. Give corporations giant tax breaks, but what do the regular citizens get for all these new taxes? From what we usually see: not a damn thing. Thanks mormon republicans.

    • RadRabbit July 17, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Try going to California leftist Democrats do it even worse.

      • comments July 17, 2018 at 11:57 am

        I believe it. Someones got to pay for all those illegal mexicans to hang around on the dole.

    • RadRabbit July 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      It would be nice if they could find some places to cut and maybe for a change lower taxes but politicians seem incapable of doing that sadly.

  • Striker4 July 18, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    It’s about time online purchases get taxed

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