The Tax Masquerade | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Tax Masquerade 

What's going on with the state's tax reform, as they call it? How it's now up to cities to educate residents on recycling practices. Plus, the state of Medicare in Utah.

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The Tax Masquerade
Let's talk population. It's something cities see as a housing challenge, that climate activists see as pollution potential and that governments see as prime taxable real estate. This brings us to Utah's tax reform frenzy and how to masquerade it as a win for the state's child-centric citizens. The latest iteration calls for a "dependent exemption" that takes the tax credit from $565 to $2,500 per child. Families without dependents will see their taxes rise. This, according to a KUER 90.9 FM report, is an attempt to make up for federal tax reform that lowered that exemption and had larger families paying more. Now, why would the feds be lowering it? As the country becomes more urban, population is outpacing capacity. But before you get too defensive of Utah kids, you should note that tax reform likely will suck money from their education, and if they need to eat unprocessed food, well, that will get taxed, too.

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Recycling Miseducation
In the Trumpian era, we don't know whether to love or hate China. But if you're thinking of recycling something, you might want to blame that nation. For whatever reason, China decided not to take our massive plastic waste. Now, residents of Draper and Midvale have to worry about what to do with their paper, too. "For years, residents across the Salt Lake Valley have approached their blue bins with a somewhat aspirational nature, recycling whatever they hoped or believed to be recyclable—and often contaminating the waste stream in the process," The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The wishing and hoping isn't getting us very far, and do we really want to turn back to landfills? It's up to cities to encourage waste reduction, maybe ban those single-use plastic bags, and make recycling a budget priority.

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Alive and Well
It might not be Medicare for All, but the ACA (dare we say Obamacare?) is alive and well in Utah. The problem is that many people don't know they're eligible, largely because of politics and the deliberate confusion that follows. Republicans are still promising the death of the Affordable Care Act. And health care bills from either the GOP or the Democrats have gone nowhere fast. A recent KSL Channel 5 report noted that Utah enrollments have already surpassed last year's, and premiums for 2020 decreased an average of 4%. In Utah, the average plan went from $509 in 2019 to $456 in 2020. Despite the lack of marketing, there are nonprofits like Take Care Utah that will help people enroll. So don't give up. The U.S. might spend more on health care than other wealthy countries, but you don't have to.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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