It’s going to be another financially challenging year for the Utah Legislature, and Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, says one way officials could potentially soften the blow of a nearly $1 billion shortfall would be to reinstate a full sales tax on food.A couple years ago, at the urging of then Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., Utah instituted a lower sales tax on food under the premise of helping families save money when purchasing basic necessities. Hillyard said he never supported taking sales tax off food because that tax goes not only to public and higher education, but it’s the major source of funding for health and human services.”If we were to put the sales tax back on food, it represents I think $140 million,” Hillyard said, noting that he believes most Utahns don’t even notice that there’s a lower sales tax on food on their grocery bills. “If we were to put that back on, that would help somewhat the $900 million to $1 billion shortfall.”Hillyard said a problem with health and human services is that for every dollar the state cuts, it loses three dollars in federal money.
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