Utah House, District 17, LeAnn Wood

1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? I attended the final two Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force Meetings and on December 9, 2019 I testified before the committee and spoke against the Tax Reform legislation. I began collecting signatures at the Kaysville City Library on December 28, 2018. I spent numerous hours collecting signatures in Kaysville at the Library, at the Farmington Harmon’s and at City Creek in downtown Salt Lake. I trained people to collect signatures for over 25 packets. I was the point of contact for a number of people who collected signatures and turned in their packets at the Davis County Clerk’s office.

2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? I would love to see no sales tax on food and have us consider how we can make up the difference in another way – is that through an increase in a general sales tax, taxing services, or reducing the amount the government spends. The General Fund funds many areas of the State such as transportation, health and human services, the criminal justice system, the state retirement fund, etc. We can’t just eliminate taxes without being willing to eliminate services. Gas taxes help to maintain and repair roads – which makes sense. It should be a “user tax” – if you use the roads you help pay for them. In July of 2019, Utah’s gas tax ranked at #26 in the nation. Unfortunately, states are seeing gas tax revenues falling in the past few years because cars are getting better mileage and because more and more electric and hybrid vehicles are being driven. Once again, if we want a service, like well-maintained and safe roads, we must figure out a way to pay for them. I was concerned by how the gas tax was being implemented at the distributor level in the tax reform bill. It seems to me that the cost would be passed down to the consumer but in a less transparent way. I am opposed to the concept of paying by the mile with a transponder in my vehicle tracking my every move.

3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? I believe we need to create clear criteria, for current services that are taxed and for any new taxes, that leaves no question – this service is taxed because of “this”. It seemed that much of the conversation around the tax reform was that we were going to “start taxing services”. A few days after the special session I had my piano tuned (a “service” in my mind) and was surprised when I was told that the bill was $100 for the tuning and $7.50 for sales tax. This showed me that the state of Utah is not consistent on what it considers a service and what is not. One of my biggest concerns with the tax reform bill was that the services selected to be taxed seemed to be a random mix with no clear parameters, such as grooming a pet was to be taxed, but cutting someone’s hair is not taxed.

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? Creating opportunities for constituents to share concerns and to understand legislative issues better is not something I will begin to do as an elected official – it’s something I’ve prioritized and acted upon as a general voter. For the past six years I have sponsored Meet the Elected Officials Nights for Davis County during non-election years, Meet the Candidate Nights during election years, and helped to mediate events with the League of Women Voters. I feel it is critical for voters to know who their elected officials are and have a relationship of trust. Currently I am trying to show my desire to make these connections by calling every delegate individually (no robo-calls for me). It’s difficult in an environment where people don’t answer their phones to strange numbers, but I feel it’s worth it to reach out where I can. I will send out weekly updates during the session and intend to have more face to face opportunities for constituents to voice their concerns and issues during the session. I respond quickly to texts and emails and look forward to conversations and input from constituents. I do believe that better decisions are made with more information. Those who know me have often appreciated my ability to take a legislative issue and explain it with a simplified and big picture perspective.

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 Yes, I am willing to vote against bills that leadership wants me to support. Most importantly, I will study out the issues and vote in a way that best represents the voters that elected me. It is frustrating to me that this question even must be asked – but I am well aware that this is a common practice within our current legislature. We are supposed to be “public servants” – representatives of our constituents. I should be able to vote in behalf of my constituents without fear of being reprimanded because of my vote. During the 2020 Legislative Session, I voiced my concern to a current legislator that forcing a body to vote a certain way was more like a dictatorship than representation.

6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not. I intend to vote yes on the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment (SJR9). I support it because of the companion legislation, HB357, which created a funding mechanism for public education and a stabilization fund to help continue to fund public education even in an economic downturn. Since 1996, the Legislature has been able to balance its budget by moving higher ed funding back and forth between the General Fund and the Education Fund. It is now funding 98% of Higher Ed out of the Education Fund and soon the flexibility the legislature has taken advantage of will be gone. The constitutional amendment will open the income tax to items that are currently funded out of the General Fund and once again provide some needed flexibility for the legislative appropriations process. That said, I do have concerns that the language – “to support children and to support individuals with a disability” is a rather vague addition to what will be funded out of the education fund. I have been told that the legislative intent is to fund items such as the Children’s Justice Centers, Child Protection Services, Guardian ad Litem, CHIP, Juvenile Justice Centers, among a handful of other items. One of my priorities in running for this office at this time is to be part of the discussion if this Constitutional Amendment passes in November. I want to make sure we keep to the legislative intent.

7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. I am the best candidate for District 17 Representative because I have the ability and the willingness to put in the time and the work with my constituents to build relationships, to listen to concerns and issues, and to study and assimilate information quickly in order to make better decisions to support families and to protect our children and youth.

Email leann4utah@gmail.com

LeAnn Wood, Utah House of Representatives, District 17 – Putting Utah Families First

My name is LeAnn Wood and I am a Republican Candidate for the Utah House of Representatives, District 17. I am running for this office because I want to be a conservative voice for the families of Utah. The success of the tax reform referendum clearly showed that there is a disconnect between what is happening on Capitol Hill and what is happening in our homes.

Decrease Government Expenditures
We need to remember that the services that are provided by the state are not “government funded” they are taxpayer funded. We need to carefully look at each dollar that is appropriated and make sure we are appropriating funds to the greatest need. We need to make sure that our taxing policies protect our most vulnerable populations. We should look at ways to decrease government expenditures before we increase tax revenues. I do not support legislation that is written specifically for an individual company or organization- commonly called a vendor bill.

Education Policy
For the last seven years I have spent hundreds of hours putting Utah Families First: in legislative committee meetings, tax reform task force meetings, state school board meetings, standards and assessment committee meetings, assessment and accountability policy advisory committee meetings, statewide assessment parent review committee meetings, school fees task force meetings among others. I have worked to amend policy in multiple areas, such as, parental rights, maintaining local control of school curriculum, providing equity regarding school fees, and use of statewide assessments in accountability.

Policies for Strong Job Creation
Utah currently is ranked the #1 State in employment and #2 in economy. We need to continue the policies that enable strong job creation and make sure we have an educated workforce for the jobs that are available. We need strong partnerships between public and higher education. We need to evaluate regulatory processes to make sure they are there for safety and over site, but not causing unnecessary burdens to businesses. We need to protect our small businesses.

Justice Reform
We need to make sure that the justice system for both adults and juveniles protects individuals, provides accountability, and creates ways for proper reform. We need to carefully look at each piece of legislation to make sure it will protect our youth.

I Want to Represent You
In the last six years I have hosted numerous “Meet the Davis County Elected Official” Nights and “Meet the Candidate” Nights. I have also helped to moderate townhall meetings for the League of Women Voters. I believe EVERY voter should have a relationship with their elected officials and feel comfortable in sharing ideas and concerns – because how else can they best represent you.

As I campaigned for the Davis County Republican Convention, I attempted to call every delegate. I have had some great conversations and I have left many voicemails. My goal is to be responsive and respectful to all constituents. If you would like to talk to me, I would love a phone call. You can call or text me at my personal phone number 801-661-2247, email me at leann4utah@gmail.com  or you can learn more about me on my website: https://leann4utah.wixsite.com/website.   I would like you to think of LeAnn Wood, as a new voice for District 17, House of Representatives. I want to be a voice for you and Put Utah Families First.