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Utah Taxpayers Association takes unfair food tax to court

by john stephenson / /

As states and cities attempt to levy discriminatory taxes on everything from satellitle television to fast food, some groups are finally standing up to say, "Enough!" 

The Utah Taxpayers Association, the Beehive State's tax watchdog since 1922, announced that it - along with the Utah Restaurant Association - has filed a lawsuit against Utah County, challenging the constitutionality of a 1 percent sales tax on food sold by restaurants. The lawsuit alleges that the sales tax on food, since it only applies to food sold by restaurants, unfairly discriminates against restaurants.

In a recent newsletter, the Taxpayers Association said a customer who purchases a breakfast burrito and juice at a fast-food establishment is charged one percent more than if that same purchase was made at a convenience store. Royce Van Trassell, the Taxpayers Association's Vice President, said that his group would be willing to work with the Utah Legislature to craft a better and fairer tax system if the court rules the tax unconstitutional.

Discriminatory taxation is a rampant problem and will continue unless fiscal conservatives stand up to challenge the practice in court or in the legislature. But the pratice will continue unless fiscal conservatives address the root causes of the problem, namely overspending, burdensome and complicated tax codes, and a lack of transparency in budgeting and policymaking. Let's hope that in the next year's legislative sessions, the new crop of fiscal conservatives that has just been elected by the American people will get serious about fixing these problems.