Religious groups urge Utah not to raise sales tax on food

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Religious groups and advocates for the poor say a plan from Republican legislative leaders to raise the sales tax on groceries would hurt low-income families and drive them further into poverty.

Members of the Coalition of Religious Communities held a press conference Thursday urging legislators to reconsider the yet-to-be-released tax plan and met with lawmakers to make their case.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser says the higher tax on food is needed because it’s more reliable than sales tax collected on other items. He says even in a recession, people buy groceries and Utah needs a stable revenue source to pay for programs that the poor rely on like Medicaid.

Utah reduced its sales tax on groceries a decade ago to 1.75 percent from 4.75 percent.

The Tax Foundation reports that most states exempt groceries from sales tax.

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