Utah voters passed two state constitutional amendments Tuesday, one by less than 1 percentage point.
Amendment A squeaked by with 50.5 percent of voters supporting it and 49.5 percent opposing it, according to unofficial results.
It requires a portion of the revenue from all of the state’s severance taxes on natural resources, excluding severance tax revenue used for Indian tribes, to be deposited into a permanent state trust fund beginning July 1, 2016.
Sponsors state Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, and state Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said investing a portion of Utah’s natural resource revenues would provide funding for future generations.
By contrast, state Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, argued such an amendment would permanently reduce Utah’s ability to address economic downturns when the state could be forced to raise taxes or cut services.
By more than a 2-1 margin, according to unofficial results, Utah voters approved Amendment B, which would authorize creation of a property-tax exemption on the primary residence of a person in the military. To qualify, that service member would have to have served in active duty out of state for at least 200 days in a calendar year or 200 consecutive days.
The exemption would cover only the service member’s property taxes for the year following the year they are deployed.
Elsewhere • Wasatch County voters by a 2-1 margin approved a process that would begin to study whether to change county government, according to unofficial results. The measure would analyze whether the county manager should be an elected position, rather than an appointed one.
In Grand County, however, voters narrowly defeated a ballot measure that would study whether its county council-form of government should be changed.
Summit County voters by an unofficial margin of 3-1 voted for a proposal that would tamp down the powers of the county manager. County Manager Bob Jasper did not oppose the measure.
Cache County residents by a margin of 4 to 1 re-authorized the so called “RAPZ” sales tax equivalent to 1/10th of 1 percent to fund recreation, arts, parks and zoos.
Tooele city voters, according to unofficial results, passed a similar measure by a margin greater than 2-1, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.
And in Kane County, voters in Kanab by a narrow margin, according to unofficial results, defeated a measure that would have required voter approval before allowing coal hydro-gasification plants.