Constitutional Amendment __

Property Tax Exemptions

Summary

Sponsor: Utah State Legislature

During the 2018 General Session of the Utah State Legislature, Sen. Daniel Hemmert sponsored a resolution, S.J.R. 2, which proposed to amend Article XIII, Section 3 [Property Tax Exemptions] of the Utah Constitution to “allow real property that the state or a local government entity leases from a private owner to be exempt from property tax, as provided by statute.”

This amendment would allow government entities to lease property without having to pay property taxes, avoiding the possibility of paying such taxes with taxpayer funds.

"YES" Vote Means

Would amend the Utah Constitution to exempt property from property taxes when it is leased by the State or a local government entity. 

"NO" Vote Means

The Utah Constitution would not be amended. Property would continue to be subject to property taxes when leased by the State or a local government entity.

Arguments in Support

Government entities should not be using taxpayer monies to pay taxes.

Government entities are exempted from paying property taxes on property the entity owns. This constitutional amendment brings balance by creating a similar exemption for when a government entity leases an entire piece of property and as part of that lease, is responsible for paying the property taxes.

This constitutional amendment is simply giving the constitutional authority to implement a law, S.B. 76, that has already been passed.

Arguments Against

Many House and Senate Democrats voted against the constitutional amendment at the time of passage during the legislative session. However, there are no known arguments against the amendment at this time.

During the 2018 General Session, the Utah State Legislature passed S.B. 76, “Commercial Property Tax Amendments,” from Sen. Daniel Hemmert. This bill provided “a property tax exemption for real property that is leased entirely to the state or a local government entity.”

To implement this policy change, the Utah Constitution would have to be amended to allow for leased property to be exempted from property taxes. This need precipitated the passage of this proposed constitutional amendment.

The enactment of this legislation would cost the elections office $15,300 to place on the 2018 ballot.

There could be a reduction in costs to government with the elimination of property taxes on leased property.

Support:

Utah State Legislature

Opposition:

House and Senate Democrats

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Information regarding the amendment was taken directly from the amendment language. Arguments and lists of important groups were taken from newspapers, websites, and groups. Citations are embedded directly in the text.

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