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Gov. Herbert calls special session Wednesday for Legislature

First Published      Last Updated Mar 09 2017 06:58 pm


On the agenda is fixing gas tax, voting on reworked version of vetoed recycling bill.

Gov. Gary Herbert has called a special session of the Legislature for Wednesday, aiming to fix problems with a recently increased gasoline tax and to pass a new version of a bill he vetoed that had attempted to exempt recycling from licensing.

The special session is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. after daylong interim committee meetings.

One agenda item seeks to correct a problem with a law that has been giving cities less than they expected from a new nickel-per-gallon gasoline hike this year.

Distribution formulas — which had been supported by cities and counties — ended up not reflecting legislative intent, and gave several cities less than the 17.5 percent increase they were promised. Some small counties ended up with more than was intended.



The state had temporarily withheld distribution of gas-tax money while officials worked on a solution, which both cities and counties have now endorsed.

As an example of problems some cities faced, Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini recently said her city received $71,215 less than expected this year from gas-tax revenue. She cited that as among factors prompting Midvale to more than double its property tax this year.

The Utah League of Cities and Towns has said cities overall are being shortchanged by some $8.5 million by problems with the gas-tax formula.

The special session also will address a reworked version of HB258, which Herbert vetoed this year after the House and Senate had passed it unanimously. It was intended to encourage recycling by redefining "solid waste facility" under the law to exempt recycling from licensing.

However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told the governor that bill could lead it to revoke federal approval for the state's plans for solid and hazardous waste management. It also said it could lead the EPA to rescind some grants, and could lead it to take more direct control of the state's waste programs.

Herbert said he vetoed it to preserve Utah's authority to administer such programs, and committed to working on language that would satisfy the EPA and then pass it.

The special session also will allow consideration of recent appointees nominated by the governor.

 

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