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Study: transportation tax hike would benefit more than it costs

Business community supports tax increases, points to expected benefits in profits, jobs.

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Some lawmakers have warned that any tax hike could face difficulty in a still-fragile economy.

"I am very sensitive to taxes. I love to avoid them at all costs if I could," Rep. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, told mayors last week who testified in favor of raising gasoline taxes.

At a glance

Benefits of hiking transportation tax

If Utah raises taxes to cover a projected $11.3 billion shortfall over 30 years for needed transportation projects, a new study says benefits would include:

» 182,618 new jobs (about 6,000 a year).

» $22.2 billion in tax revenues from economic growth.

» $130.5 billion in additional household income.

» $183.6 billion in additional state gross domestic product.

» A $1.94 return for every $1 invested, measured by increased domestic product per dollar invested.

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Anderegg noted that Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker recently vetoed a 13 percent city tax hike largely for roads — later overriden by the City Council — arguing it was too big of a hit at one time. Anderegg argued that statewide transportation tax hikes may face the same problem. "There’s no doubt you guys are in a tough spot and the whole state is," he said, and the tax may be a tough sell.

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