Utah House, District 52, Catherine Voutaz

— 1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? —

First I expressed my disapproval upon learning of the Utah State Legislature’s massive tax overhaul bill which passed in special session to my representatives and Governor Herbert and attended town halls covering the referendum.  Subsequently, I signed supporting the citizen referendum seeking to overturn the bill.

— 2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? —

A sales tax on food is regressive.  Low-income individuals and families are unduly burdened because they must spend a larger percentage of their disposable income on basic necessities which includes groceries. We should exempt sales tax on groceries.  A “grocery tax credit” does not solve the regressive inequity since many low income individuals and families are not even required to file state income tax returns. 

Utah’s motor fuel (gas) tax is currently 31.1 cents per gallon (as of Jan 1, 2020), so the total tax on a gallon of gas is now 49.5 cents.  Utah’s gas tax should be directed to the transportation fund in order to preserve roads, build highways and bridges, and extend Trax.  New taxes assessed on gasoline won’t solve disproportional transportation funding.  But, we can look at repealing some sales tax exemptions where it makes sense and begin funding transportation based on how much services are used (based on vehicle mileage) and charging tolls where it is allowable.

— 3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? —

Expanding Utah’s sales tax base to include services is attractive for several reasons.  First, the services base is large and likely to continue to grow considering consumer spending has shifted from goods to services.  Second, to a certain degree, goods and services may be interchangeable (e.g. receiving a massage from massage chair or from a masseuse).  Third, sales tax on services can assist in solving the current structural imbalance in Utah’s taxing system.   Lastly, there are optional services where imposing sales tax might make sense and increasing state revenues (e.g. amusement, data processing, computer services, information services, some personal services, property maintenance, repair services, dating referral services, sightseeing transportation, parking lots and garages, and identify theft protection).  This is a complex tax issue that needs a review of best practices and to determine the amount of state revenues needed to cover any state expenditure deficits and the impact to small service businesses.

— 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? —

Constituents are intelligent and capable of understanding the problems our state faces.  We need input from our communities to determine how to best solve the structural problems within in the tax code. Legislatures need to listen to their constituents and be able to come up with solutions to the problem our state faces.  My goal is to provide opportunities for citizens be informed and to address constituents concerns on a regular basis – not just during the legislative session, but throughout the year – via town halls and virtual meetings.

— 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 —

Absolutely.  If elected, I will be hired by my constituents and not by the legislative body or a committee.  My job would be to represent the citizens in Herriman, Riverton,  and South for House District 52.

— 6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not? —

No.  The amendment proposed allowing income tax to not only fund education, but also fund services for children and people with disabilities does not fix the inherent underlying problem, but is short sighted.  We need to ensure education is funded for the long term and the legislature needs to address the entire tax structure in a way that plans for the future.

— 7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. —

My professional experience in business and tax will lend a voice for our citizens in any tax reform legislation proposed.  I’ve seen first hand and I value how entrepreneurs and small business drive innovation, opportunities and jobs here in Utah and I encourage legislation to fund top quality public education for existing residents’ children as well as those who are moving to the area.

— Email —

voutazcatherine@gmail.com

Why I’m running for Utah House District 52:

We need representatives in the State Legislature who understand and are responsive to the policy priorities of our community.  For the last 18 years we have witnessed extraordinary growth, particularly in and around Herriman.  My professional experience in business and tax will lend a voice for our citizens in any tax reform legislation proposed.  I’ve seen first-hand and I value how entrepreneurs and small business drive innovation, opportunities and jobs here in Utah and I encourage legislation to fund top quality public education for existing residents’ children as well as those who are moving to the area.

Education:
I graduated from Weber State University in Accounting and continued my education in the University of Nevada, Reno’s Master of Professional Accountancy program with an emphasis on Taxation.  

Accounting and Business Background:
During my 20+ years in tax, accounting and business management, I worked for companies in Utah including Skullcandy, Goal Zero, Fusion-io, FranklinCovey, and Caldera. Early in my career, I worked for the Internal Revenue Service and James &Co. Business Advisors & CPAs.