1. What did you do to help with the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum? I was not comfortable with the bill, or the process, from the beginning. Legislators and other government leaders moved too quickly and tried to bypass industry leaders and voters. Although I did not directly assist in the Referendum campaign, I supported the intiative and I have great respect for those who led the efforts. They overcame a monumental hurdle. They were able to collect over 170,000 signatures in a month’s time – a clear indication that the people of Utah had serious concerns about the tax reform bill. This was a big win for the taxpayers of Utah to rise up and unite in opposing bad tax policy.
2. What is your position of taxes on food and gasoline? There is no question that this is a form of regressive taxation, which by its very nature hurts families who can least afford to pay more. If elected, I would not support increased taxes on food and gasoline. We need level-headed leaders who insist on transparency and accountability in evaluating budgets and who are willing to think outside the box to arrive at solutions that are supported by taxpayers.
3. What if any taxes would you implement on services and why? I am not currently in favor of increasing taxes on services. Far too often legislators fail to consider the effect of “unintended consequences.” One of the best ways to counter this is by consulting carefully with industry leaders and those who are directly affected by legislation. Government leaders are not experts in every field, so it is critical that they consult with those who are before making decisions. Most importantly, any tax on services would have to be supported by voters. One aspect of the tax reform bill that most people seemed to support was a sales tax on Uber and Lyft rides, similar to what taxi drivers are already required to collect.
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? Many people felt that even after the town halls that the legislative task force
completed throughout 2019, the citizens felt their concerns were not heard. Some legislators felt that the people didn’t understand the issue. What specific items would you implement to educate and respond to the issues that your constituents bring to you? As President of the New Car Dealers of Utah, I was well aware of and concerned about the sales tax reform bill that was discussed during the 2019 session. I felt legislators were attempting to push this legislation through without informing their constituents of the issues. Because of pushback from industry leaders, the bill was tabled, a task force was convened, and a listening tour began. Town halls are a great idea – if they are used correctly to both provide information to voters, as well as understand their opinions and concerns. The most fundamental way to govern is to listen to the will of voters. This did not happen with the task force. While serving on the Cache Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee, I continued to carefully follow the progression of the reform bill. I was appalled that despite multiple townhalls, the task force wrote a bill that voters overwhelming disliked because it did not represent their views. Legislative leaders were quoted as saying “citizens don’t understand tax policy and a referendum is a bad idea.” The real problem occurs when legislators feel superior to voters and believe they should solve problems without valuing their input. Term limits would be one way to eliminate incumbent tone-deafness. I pledge to take time to gather voter ideas, input, and to listen and respect their wishes. Taking the time to personally visit with my customers and employees has always been critical to the success of my small business. I believe this is the best policy I can have as I represent the people of district 25.
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 In a poll of Utah voters 60% did not support a tax on food and gasoline. It is deeply concerning to me that legislators disregarded the feelings and opinions of the voters in supporting the tax reform bill. Regardless of whether or not I see merit in any particular legislation, if it is not supported by my constituents, I feel it is my obligation to represent their views, not my own! I’m a businessman who has learned that the customer comes first. My third-generation automobile dealership would not have survived for nearly 77 years if we didn’t respect customers and serve their long-term needs. The voters will now be my customers and they will come first. I’ll work to build consensus in the Senate, collaborate on important issues, support leadership when I can, but I’ll never turn a deaf ear to taxpayers.
6. Are you in favor of the Utah School Income Tax Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on in November? Why or not. On the surface, this looks like good policy because it appears leaders have consensus. Different legislators writing the bill, different approach, different results. This bill does not increase taxes. It just allows a better distribution of overall tax revenue. It protects education and provides for future education funding increases, while also allowing income tax revenues to be spent on services benefiting children and persons with disabilities. We will all have time before November to study the proposed amendment in more depth and evaluate the potential for unintended consequences before we vote on it.
7. Name one reason you are the best candidate for the position you signed for. As the owner of a small family business in operation for over 76 years, I have the experience and skills to weather the storms of economic uncertainty, build consensus, and to make informed decisions on matters that will affect the residents of our community. As your State Senator, I pledge to listen and be accountable to my constituents as I do my best to serve with a level-headed approach to addressing tough issues such as education, economic security, tax reform, clean air, and explosive growth.
Chris Wilson: A Fresh Perspective for Our Community
I am Chris Wilson and I am running for State Senate in District 25. I care deeply about our community. I am a third-generation owner of a family business and a lifetime resident of Cache Valley. Decisions that are made on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City affect our businesses, our community, and our families. I want to ensure that our voice – our values, our way of life, and our concerns – are represented.
I believe it is time for fresh ideas, a fresh new approach, and bold level-headed leadership.
It is time for a Senator willing to lead out and seek input from voters, then demonstrate the dedication and humility to implement the will of the people. I’m prepared to work shoulder to shoulder with a broad spectrum of voters, business, education, and community leaders, and other elected officials at every level in a spirit of comradery and cooperation to give Northern Utah a strong, united voice on every issue. My service in the community and work with the Cache Chamber of Commerce have put me in a position to bring these voices together as we plan for and make hard decisions regarding economic growth, job creation, and revenue and taxation.
I believe it is time that voters were truly heard, not talked down to, not disregarded. I am grateful for voters who remain engaged in the political process in a season in which many have chosen apathy. I believe that every voice matters. I still believe in the values upon which our nation was founded.
I took over full ownership of our family business in 2009, during the great recession. In order to survive and thrive in a tough economy we had to adapt, finding new workable solutions, and anticipating the future. We had to tighten our belt and ensure that every dollar was spent efficiently and effectively. I have developed the skills to weather the storms of economic uncertainty, and believe my experience is just what is needed right now.
I believe a fresh perspective is needed on these key issues:
Explosive Growth: Northern Utah is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. It is critical that we start planning today to ensure that education, employment opportunities, and transportation infrastructure can withstand the pressures of this explosive growth. In order to attract industries that will bring higher paying jobs, rather than offer tax incentives, we need to create a shared vision with business leaders, city and county officials, Utah State University, and Bridgerland Technology College.
Tax Reform: Tax reform cannot be rushed, and it must involve voter input. I promise to carefully study the options placed before the legislature to solve the imbalance in our revenue allocations. I will insist on transparency and accountability in evaluating budgets and expenditures. I will use facts, not fear, to inform voters. And I pledge to always listen to you! I will not support a tax increase on gas or food.
Education: Education must remain a high priority. There is no better investment we can make in our future than in providing our teachers with the resources they need to implement innovative, personalized ways of teaching and preparing our children for the jobs of the future. Education decisions should be made primarily at the local level by those who know the needs of our children best.
I am Chris Wilson, and I am running for State Senate, District 25. I look forward to serving you and I ask for your vote.
For more information:
Instagram and Facebook: @chriswilsonutah