State Senate, District 6, Karen Hyatt

1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? First, I recruited friends to help, including my daughters. Together we collected several hundred signatures from neighbors and grocery store patrons. I also drove a total of 240 miles to deliver packets to two counties in southern Utah so they could get the signatures they needed.

2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? I oppose tax increases on food, particularly unprepared food. I also oppose increases in the state gas tax rate. I believe fuel tax revenues should be used ONLY for roads and that shortfalls should be addressed, as with every budget, by first identifying any wasteful expenditures. I’ve seen the same road torn up twice in a month and have watched as perfectly good road was repaved. We need to be more judicious stewards of our road funds.  

3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? I have never heard a valid justification for taxing services. We’re already taxed on our buildings, equipment, materials, transportation costs, etc. – everything needed to perform the service. I oppose taxing the service itself in addition to all of this.

4. Many Utahns felt that after the town halls and committee meetings that the legislative tax task force held throughout 2019 that their concerns were not heard and that special interests wielded too much influence. On the other hand, many legislators felt that the people didn’t understand the issue or the solutions that they put forth. If elected, how would you respond to the concerns and issues that your constituents bring to you and how would you educate them on the issues you are dealing with? I slogged through thousands of lines of SB2001 and helped others understand what was in it. Beyond the food, gas, and service taxes, there were carve-outs for certain specific large companies to receive sales tax exemptions on their equipment, for instance, while small businesses would still have to pay sales tax on theirs. I pointed out these specific lines to anyone curious about the bill, and I will happily help constituents cut through the legalese and find out what next year’s bills actually say.

5. Are you willing to vote against bills that legislative leadership wants you to support even when threatened with losing coveted committee positions, having your legislation held hostage, etc? Explain I am 100% willing to stand up against what has become an atmosphere of quid pro quo – senators voting for one another’s bills to ensure that their own bills will be supported. I attended several senate sessions this year and was appalled to see the vast majority of bills pass with 0 nay votes – often with little or no discussion. One of my goals in running is to lend courage to other senators who might vote “no” on a bad bill if they knew they would not be alone. We MUST bring integrity back to the senate.

6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not. Amending the state constitution will not solve our budget problems – nor will NOT amending it! The correct balance between education funds and general funds will only be achieved when the state AND the school districts begin to live within their means. THE STATE BUDGET MUST BE PARED DOWN to only those items that pertain to the proper role of government. Similarly, we currently spend an average of a quarter million dollars per classroom per year, which is staggering, and WE MUST PUT PRESSURE ON OUR DISTRICTS to spend that money more wisely. For some it may mean a lower administrative budget and higher teacher salaries; for others it may mean placing high-priority items, such as classroom supplies, at the top of the budget so those items come out of that $250,000 instead of out of the teachers’ own pockets. The question of whether to amend the constitution is a distraction from the real issue: both the state and the schools must recognize that “their” money is actually OUR money and prioritize their budgets accordingly.

7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. I did not want to run for office. I wanted to grow my little bakery and play with my grandson. But after helping with SB2001, it was clear that I had what was needed to serve: the ability to parse through complex legislation; a firm understanding of the proper role of government; the integrity to resist pressure; and time to dedicate to the position. Instead of looking for someone else to step up and run, I realized I had to be the change I was hoping for.

My name is Karen Hyatt, and I’m running for Utah State Senate in District 6.

My family has lived in West Jordan since 1998. I’m a small business owner and understand some of the regulatory hurdles and other obstacles faced by small businesses.

Like many people, I opposed SB2001, the so-called “food tax” bill that sought to increase taxes on food and gasoline and impose brand new taxes on many services. I spent dozens of hours collecting referendum signatures from neighbors and supermarket shoppers and drove 250 miles to deliver signature packets to southern Utah so that other counties could meet (and surpass!) their thresholds as well.

Additionally, I waded through thousands of lines of SB2001 and found so much more that was objectionable. For example, there were unfair provisions exempting certain large companies from paying sales tax on their equipment – while small businesses still had to pay it on theirs. Yet 20 of our 29 senators voted for this bill.

Most senators have been serving for multiple terms, and while they may have favored small government when they first ran for office, it seems many of them have lost sight of their proper role. We need to elect legislators who will courageously vote to cut waste and scale back our government to only its legitimate functions.

My reason for wanting to serve in the Senate is to stand for those small-government principles, staunchly resist the pressure to vote for bills that fall outside the purview of state government, and encourage more senators to do the same.

Participating in the referendum process confirmed that I have the necessary skills to parse through complex legislation and the resolve to stand up for what’s right despite pressure to do otherwise. I also realized that, instead of merely waiting for someone else to step up to the plate and run for office, I had to BE the change I was hoping for.

I ask for your support as I run for Utah State Senate in District 6. Please go to my website,, share it along with my contact info, and ask your friends to do the same. Call, text, or email me ANYTIME with comments or questions.

Thank you so much for your help.

Karen Hyatt