Tax Options Survey

Question 1 – A proposed bill in the Utah Legislature may be numbered this weekend that would lower the overall state sales tax rate of 4.7%, and increase/equalize the state sales tax rate on food of 3%, to a single unified rate of around 4.25%. The total tax collected under the new unified rate would be “tax neutral” (i.e. it would not increase taxes currently paid to the state). The reason proposed for this change is to smooth out the volatility of sales tax revenue to the state under the split sales tax rates due to economic volatility (i.e. more tax revenue is collected on average during years of economic growth and less during years of economic recession). Top of Form Would you support lowering the overall sales tax rate on most things you buy, and at the same time increase and equalize the sales tax rate on food?

Some of your other responses:

“This is a complicated issue. I’m ok with the sales rate change as proposed but the credits for groceries for low income sounds like a mess. Filing taxes is complicated enough without more credits to calculate. Additionally I am apposed to any grocery tax credit that pays money beyond the taxes that are paid.”

“I am in favor of lowering taxes. I’m not in favor of raising taxes on food.”

“It’s not clear what “tax neutral” is and how that solves the problem of market volatility. I liked the idea of having a rainy day fund where taxes were placed during good years and used when it was needed in the dip years. I wonder if something could be done like that instead of increasing taxes and low income incentives.”

“Why not implement a tax in internet sales to provide the needed funds?”

“My vote is a NO but I would like to explain why. I am opposed do this because it increases the tax on food and negatively impacts low income families. An income tax credit does not alleviate this burden because the tax credit only applies at tax time, but they are purchasing food at a higher price all year long. Even with the tax credit, the burden on low income families is not where I would like to start with tax reform.”

 

Question 2 – Would you support a low income tax credit for food purchases?

Some of your other responses:

“Yes I would, but applied at the time of checkout on non junk food items only.”

“I would be interested in learning how this credit would be issued. My concern is that low income families my not itemize their taxes. I can see an adjustment being given to food stamps recipients through the program but how could the credit go to lower income families. But even if these questions go unanswered I would still support the more stable tax structure.”

“My concern is this: What is the long-term impact of locking in another static tax credit?”

“No, probably not but once again I doubt things are this cut and dry. Racing those who excel at a higher rate is not “fair”. It is foolish. One straight rate that applies to all is fair. There is bit enough data here to understand the bill and too often they are too long and complicated to read when it us spelled out.”

“My answer is NO but again I would like to explain. It isn’t that I don’t think a tax credit is warranted, it is that it is too little too late. A tax credit won’t do them any good if they are purchasing food at a higher price all year long. Low income families don’t have the luxury of waiting around to collect their tax credit. They can’t afford the increase day to day, week to week, month to month. Getting a tax credit when it is time to file their taxes is a nice gesture, but it doesn’t alleviate the day to day burden.”

 

Question 3 – Would you support a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for lower income Utahns (an EITC provides a tax credit to low income working Utahns)?

Some of your other responses:

“Yes, as long as this isn’t a refundable credit where they can get back more money than they paid in taxes.”

“Probably not. I’m glad to see options here beyond yea or nay and I hope they get read. There are many charitable options for those in need. I don’t support anything near socialism that takes away one’s agency to give. Giving a discount just because someone is low income is the wrong incentive. Instead offer credits to those who improve their military situation and provide opportunities for people to volunteer to teach those willing to really improve. Handouts sold be temporary and include resources to improve.”

“Those who are lower income are still somehow able to buy cell phones, sign their kids up for sports, and go out to dinner etc. The decrease of the sales tax on non-food items should be plenty to off set the slight increase in food sales tax. Sales tax is the truly constitutional tax in that it is representative. If you need to save money, buy less.”

“My concern is this: What is the long-term impact of locking in another static tax credit?”

Mid-Legislative Survey

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As your elected representative, thank you for your willingness to participate in this constituent questionnaire. It is important for me to understand your thoughts and opinions so that I can better serve you during the 2017 State Legislative Session. Below are your responses that I have received from my recent survey that I sent out. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.
~ Jefferson Moss


 

Question 1.1 – There has been a lot of discussion about legislation being passed or a potential ballot measure to increase income taxes by 7/8 of 1%. As a percentage, this equals an individual increase of 17.5%. Do you support the Legislature raising the state income tax specifically to better fund education?

Questions 1.2 – If yes, would you support requirements being established for how that money is spent (i.e. teacher pay, merit pay, technology) or would you support that money going directly to the districts to use how they prefer?

  1. 1. 52% – Support requirements for how money is spent
  2. 2. 34% – Support money going directly to the districts
  3. 3. 14% – Other

 

Some of your other responses:

“As an educator I feel merit pay has challenges, but I support requirements”

“Support money going directly to LEAs which include charters.”

“Talk with the state’s school district’s on needs, then make those the requirements for the money. e.g. more books in libraries needed? spend that increase on books.”

“Attach all funding to the student and allow parents to spend it on privately chartered schools. Our schools are large bureaucratic driven by bad vision (common core)”

“I feel like money has a hard time making it past the district and into the classroom. I would support a tax if it will go to teachers.”

“I don’t support it. What about homeschooling? This would does not help them at all, and would make it harder for them. If people who use the school system want to pay more for them, then they should be able to. If taxes are raised for schools, then homeschooling should be able to get tax credits as well.”

 

Question 2 – What factors do you believe would produce the greatest opportunity to improve the education of our children in grades K-12? Please rank the following from 1 to 5, 1 being the highest priority, as well as adding a suggestion not listed?

  1. 1. 25.29% – Limit how much funding can be used for administration to ensure the major of funding goes toward teacher pay and in classroom instruction.
  2. 2. 19.70% – Economic development to increase funding for public schools
  3. 3. 18.62% – More parental choice and involvement opportunities
  4. 4. 18.38% – Increase the use of technology in schools
  5. 5. 9.88% – Raise the income tax to increase funding for public schools
  6. 6. 8.13% – Other

 
Some of your other responses:

“Get rid of all the districts, we are administrative heavy, have one district. Use resources more efficiently, blue light concept.”

“End Common Core”

“Encourage more Home Schooling and Private Schooling”

“Restructure the top heavy administration for a more privatized set up. And corrupted union organizations.”

“Small community/parent driven charter/private schools (funding should be attached to student with parents choosing from a pool of competitive educational offerings”

 

Question 3 – If Utah’s educational system is not performing in the way you believe it ought to, what do you believe are the main reasons? Please rate in order of importance:

  1. 1. 18.39% – Class sizes
  2. 2. 17.65% – Not enough involvement from parents
  3. 3. 16.42% – Lack of support for teachers
  4. 4. 13.77% – Teacher shortage
  5. 5. 13.75% – Teacher quality
  6. 6. 12.95% – Funding – not enough tax money
  7. 7. 7.07% – Other

 

Some of your other responses:

“Too much emphasis on sports and thus too little on everything else”

“Too many administrators”

“Too much legislative interference and not enough true accountability at the district level”

“They don’t spend enough time with traditional math and Important History lessons about our founding fathers”

“Bureaucracy. We have the largest school districts in country chasing financial efficiency instead of effective learning. Combined with teaching to the test mentality of common core, we have hollowed out education to a soulless, mechanical business operation”

“Too much “high level” involvement from the government. Also, make schools, teachers, etc., have to compete in some way. Meaning, some form of encouraging teachers, administrators, districts, etc., motivated to do well. Just like the free market.”

 

Question 4.1 – Do you believe the state should legalize the use of marijuana for medical conditions without the approval of the FDA?

Question 4.2 – If yes, do you believe the state has a role in the regulatory process of this drug, or should the dispensing decisions be left up to the medical provider?

  1. 1. 51% – Medical provider decides
  2. 2. 36% – State should regulate
  3. 3. 13% – Other

 
Some of your other responses:

“Not marijuana, but cannabis oil. Huge difference.”

“The root problem is lack of research. The feds haven’t fulfilled their responsibility. Not sure there is a way around that. Don’t think we can do it for them and think it is irresponsible to legalize without the research foundation.”

“Some state regulation, but much decision left up to Medical Providers. And a clear transparent process for altering that as it goes.”

“Medical provider decides, but the state still needs to provide some regulations concerning the sale, dispensing, etc.”

“I only support medical grade cannabis, which should be regulated by the state and prescribed by a physician”

“State should regulate and study its effective and responsible use. Like any other medication on the market.”

 

Question 5 – Do you support the death penalty in limited and egregious cases or should the State of Utah eliminate the death penalty because of any potential wrongful convictions?

  1. 1. 70% – Support the death penalty
  2. 2. 21% – Eliminate the death penalty
  3. 3. 9% – Other

 
Some of your other responses:

“Death penalty when no doubts exist as to guilt and then not years and years of stringing the person along.”

“Undecided. Lean toward Supporting it.”

“Support the death penalty when a serious convict continues to show no remorse to efforts to improve.”

“Support, but only in clear cut and extremely egregious cases.”

“Support it but it needs to be carried out in a reasonable amount of time – not going on so long that the criminal dies of old age before the sentence can be carried out.”

 

Question 6 – After this last election, where in most counties every active registered voter was sent a ballot in the mail yet many waited hours in line to cast a vote on Election Day, should the state continue the practice of mailing a ballot to everyone, or only those who have requested it?

  1. 1. 71.89% – Keep vote by mail as an option for those that request it
  2. 2. 20.74% – Keep vote by mail for every active registered voter
  3. 3. 7.37% – Other

 
Some of your other responses:

“We are in 2017, online balloting should be considered”

“Voter turn out is higher when votes are mailed, but they need to keep cost down and figure out how to eliminate people voting for others (those who have moved, passed away etc) Right now mailed ballots don’t require ID like in person”

“Eliminate polls and go to strictly mail in ballots. (Collection boxes could be set out on Election Day.)”

“Keep vote by mail an option. I’m a registered voter and did NOT receive one in the mail. It would have been nice to get one.”

“Vote by mail concerns me because of increased voter fraud possibilities. How do you know who cast and mailed the ballot if you haven’t seen id. Online with thumbprint security would be better.”

 

Question 7 – Do you believe the vote-by-mail process opens up our electoral system for more fraud?

Some of your other responses:

“I think it has the potential, I just don’t know how. Which means that most won’t know how either.”

“Yes, but insignificantly. not even a percentage. I am more concerned on non- US citizens voting”

“It has the possibility, but what actual data do we have?”

“Not necessarily fraud, but greater opportunity for human-caused errors, lost votes, etc.”

 

Question 8 – Current state law requires residents to pay sales tax for most consumer purchases. For purchases made in physical stores, the merchant collects the tax at the time of the sale. However, for on-line purchases, merchants are not required to collect the sales tax leaving the consumer to report and pay the sales tax directly to the TaxCommission. Requiring the collection of sales tax on Internet sales by the merchants is gaining momentum in Utah. Recently, Governor Herbert announced a deal with Amazon.com to collect and remit taxes on sales to Utahans. Do you support this effort? Would you rather report and remit your sales tax at tax time, or have it collected by on-line retailers?

  1. 1. 59.72% – Yes, retailers should collect and remit the sales tax
  2. 2. 26.39% – No, consumers should self-report and remit the sales tax
  3. 3. 13.89% – Other

 
Some of your other responses:

“The state of Utah has no business collecting sales tax from businesses located outside of Utah.”

“No taxes should be collected on purchases from these online retailers”

“Consumers will never self-report for various reasons. Tax should be collected online but given to state where there is a physical presence; i.e. Utah if there is a wal-mart here; or another state if no physical presence here but is located in another state.”

“Let all taxes go to the zip code of the buyer. This will help rural communities”

“If the goal really is to level the playing field, it seems to be an argument for reducing the sales tax for brick and mortar. At the same time though, I support free market principle that there should be no deals or kickbacks for anyone.”

“We shouldn’t be taxed twice. Either tax is on income or it is on purchases. Do away with one of them.”

 

Question 9 – Over the Christmas break, President Obama declared and designated 1.35 million acres in San Juan County as the Bears Ears National Monument. The entire federal Utah delegation, Governor Gary Herbert, Attorney General Sean Reyes, Utah’s legislative leaders and every County Commissioner from San Juan County opposed this action. What is your opinion of this Presidential Action?

  1. 1. 46.58% – No, consumers should self-report and remit the sales tax
  2. 2. 34.25% – Think the land should be managed and protected by the State and County – those closest to the issue
  3. 3. 8.22% – Favor the protection of this area through Presidential declaration
  4. 4. 7.31% – other/comments
  5. 5. 3.65% – Favor the protection of this area but not through Presidential declaration

 
Some of your other responses:

“Get our land back, congress should pull the abused power they gave the president at the turn of the century.”

“I oppose the federal government controlling 70% of the land in Utah AND I believe the land should be managed and protected by the State and County.”

“I would need to know more about why the president did this before I could comment.”

“Let Utah manage its own resources”

“Would choose both oppose fed government control and think it should be managed locally.”

 

Question 10 – Utah restaurants that serve alcohol are required to have a partition that separates the restaurant from the area where alcoholic drinks are prepared. This partition has been referred to as the Zion Curtain. Which statement more accurately reflects your thoughts?

  1. 1. 67.91% – The state should do away with the requirement for the Zion Curtain, as the burden of this regulation is greater than any potential societal benefit.
  2. 2. 25.58% – The Zion Curtain is important to minimize exposure to alcohol, especially for children and teens, and should continue to be mandated by the state.
  3. 3. 6.51% – Other

 
Some of your other responses:

“Regulation is a detriment to productivity in business. This regulation has little effect on what it is intended”

“I don’t really understand it. I don’t notice a difference when I travel out of state. I can see them mixing drinks at the bar in restaurants in Utah. Is there any proof it makes a difference? I’m very family oriented, but if it doesn’t work….”

“I have not lived anywhere else to notice the difference. I don’t feel I have enough information to make an informed decision on this. While I love the idea of minimizing exposure of children and teens to alcohol, I am not sure what the impact would look like as it plays out. Are there other states that require a separation? If we no longer require a wall, would there still be requirements for limiting consumption? What I DON’T want to have happen is for restaurants to begin to look and feel more like bars”

“I’m not aware of any problems with the current system.”

 

Question 11 – In Utah, it is currently legal for any authorized gun owner to openly carry a weapon without a permit. Would you support a common sense carry law that would allow legal gun owners to carry that same weapon in a purse or under a jacket, in other words, carry it in a concealed manner without a permit?

  1. 1. 48.39% – Support a common sense carry law
  2. 2. 47.47% – Oppose a common sense carry law but support the current law allowing for individuals to obtain a concealed carry permit.
  3. 3. 4.15%  – Other

 
Some of your other responses:

“I still believe that we should issue the permits and at least offer the course, but allow people to conceal without a permit.”

“I believe permitting fills a very important purpose including training, practice, and background checks. I do not believe that a permit is an infringement on gun ownership. It is due diligence for training and public safety. I do not support permit-less concealed carry and would love to require a permit for all who carry as a matter of public safety. We require licenses to drive, permits to run businesses, licenses and certificates for all kinds of other things. It is not an infringement, just a way to ensure better safety.”

“There should be no permit. The second amendment gives all citizens the the right to carry, without having to pay the government for the privilege. As long as the person isn’t mentally educated from carrying he/she should be able to.”

“Support the common sense carry law on principal, but value the ability to have a permit that is honored in many other states, which a common sense law will not grant.”

 

Question 12 –  Should the state empower physicians, at the request of a patient, to prescribe medication for the purpose of ending that patients life?

Some of your other responses:

“Yes, under certain conditions and regulations.”

“Undecided, but I’m generally against assisted suicide”

“I have not completely formed my opinion on the matter”

“Would vary by the circumstances of the patient.”

 

Question 13 – Many agree that the homeless problem in Salt Lake City has gotten out of hand. Last legislative session the Utah Legislature appropriated money toward an effort to address homelessness in a new way. Do you believe it is in the interest of the State of Utah to be taking an active role to address this issue, or do you believe that the solutions should come from local county and state officials?

  1. 1. 45.58% – The State should play an active role
  2. 2. 43.72% – This is a county and city issue and should be addressed by local officials
  3. 3. 10.70% – Other

 
Some of your other responses:

“Plans should be made up and executed by a local officials. but state may need to be involved when local Authority does not do anything”

“I’m torn, but I feel like all of the extra help we do for the homeless only attracts more homeless.”

“Why are we building homeless shelters? That invites more people to be homeless and live off of the state. Wouldn’t it be better to help them have a productive life and not be homeless?”

“I think both should play a role. Work together and include businesses and residents as well. This is an issue that affects all of us.”

“I believe a partnership between the state and local entities is best. It is a problem that affects all levels. The process is always better if more stakeholders are brought to the table.”

Citizen Engagement Survey Results

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to represent you in the Utah House of Representatives. Thank you to those who completed the survey I recently sent out. I thought it would be informative to share the responses I received. As we move into the legislative session, I will continue to provide updates and additional information on issues. As always, I hope you will reach out to me if you have any concerns or questions. Thanks!”

– Jefferson Moss

What characteristics are most important to you in an elected representative?

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What do you feel is the most effective form of communication with your legislative representative?

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Please rank the following issues from the most important to you to the least important. 1 being the most important and 9 being the least important.

(Ranked in order – according to responses)

  1. 1. Education
  2. 2. Health Care
  3. 3. Economic Development
  4. 4. Gun Rights or Control
  5. 5. Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
  6. 6. Transportation
  7. 7. Public Lands
  8. 8. Air Quality
  9. 9. Judicial Reform


Please list other issues that are important to you that are not listed on the previous questions.

  • – Education/School Programs
  • – Preservation of Religious Freedom
  • – End Daylight Savings
  • – Energy/Solar
  • – Term Limits
  • – Medical Marijuana
  • – Taxes
  • – Health Care


In regards to education, what would you say is your biggest concern? Please rank from 1 being most important to 6 being least important.

(Ranked in order – according to responses)

  1. 1. Federal Overreach
  2. 2. Low Teacher Pay
  3. 3. Insufficient Funding in the Classroom (supplies & technology)
  4. 4. Too many state mandates from the top
  5. 5. More flexibility in education options
  6. 6. Not enough Parent input in process


Please elaborate on the previous question about what is the most critical issue facing education.

(Some of your responses)
“Funding. There is a lot of red tape, but I do think in Utah there are options and involvement. What we lack is funding mostly. Teachers need better pay and we need an overhaul of the way fund are used in schools. We need to attract teacher with passion and then pay them so they don’t burn out from “summer and second jobs”.”

“Common core should be done away with. Parents are number 1 decision makers for their own kids”

“Education is a parent’s responsibility, not the government’s.”

“Too much teacher attrition due to difficult circumstances and low pay.”

“Get the federal government out of our education system and teach correct principles.”

“Teachers pay is not adequate therefore our children are suffering because you get what you pay for. Teachers to not care about teaching. I think with higher pay we can get teachers to reinvest in our children.”

“The most critical issue in education is that parents put too much power and responsibility in the states hand. There should be more tax breaks for home-schoolers and more homeschooling options, also, parents should not have to have state or districts permission to home-school their own children. That should be a parenting choice and responsibility over everything else.”

“Too much control. Too much demanding that each child be the same as others. We are individuals, not drones. Politicians are paid too much when more should be going to teachers.”

“Our country was established based on a belief in God. Removing God or prayer from school (separation of state and church) goes against the fundamentals our Nation was built upon. Also our ideals were a majority rules, not to change laws as to coddle anyone of the minority rule.”

“Teachers need to feel valued. The legislature should stop doing the job of State and local school boards. Teachers should feel empowered to inspire and educate our children. Stop making them jump through hoops and let them teach.”

What do you feel is needed to attract more businesses to our area?

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  1. 1. Better transportation options (44%)
  2. 2. Tax incentives (27%)
  3. 3. Increased visibility for our area (21%)
  4. 4. Increased population base (8%)


Are you interested in receiving ongoing surveys regarding specific bills or issues?

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I would like ongoing feedback on how you feel I am doing in serving as your representative.

Communication/Engagement:

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Accessible:

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Transparency in Process:

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