During 2019 the UCC has been studying and evaluating the work of Utah’s Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force (TRETF) and has made statements at the TRETF hearings and taken a position favoring retention of the income tax earmark for education. We have also joined with Voices for Utah Children urging attention to the needs of Utah’s most vulnerable citizens. We will continue to add our voice to those urging a balanced tax system that focuses on the needs of all Utahns rather than privileging the business community, transportation, and special interests. We are emphasizing the need for transparency of revenues lost to the tax system because of deductions, exemptions, credits, waivers, subsidies, etc. Below is the letter we sent Gov. Herbert on November 21, 2019, urging more extended study
The Utah Citizens’ Counsel (UCC) is convinced that the proposals of the Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force (TRETF) are not ready for a special session or even for the 2020 regular legislative session. We urge postponement and additional study. Here is why:
Our last full report can be accessed at Standing Up For Utah’s Needs. The report assesses the 2018 policy progress toward the realization of the human rights stated in our Declaration of Utah Human Rights. The Declaration serves as the framework for our policy positions. It reflects our view of the kinds of communities in which all Utahns should be able to live. Our focus in 2018 was on: . . .”
- Impact of economic inequality on health, education, personal safety, and opportunities to thrive and succeed (Article 1: Equal Rights)
- Air quality, water availability, and climate change (Article 2: Environmental Health)
- Public education financing, the Our Schools Now initiative petition, and ongoing preschool needs (Article 3: Public Education)
- Health care cost and quality measures, the importance of social determinants of health, and the continuing need for Medicaid expansion (Article 4: Health)
- Hate crime legislation, gun violence and suicides (Article 5: Personal Security)
- Toxic stress and its impact on the brain development of very young children (Article 6: Social Support Systems)
- Gerrymandering, the Better Boundaries Redistricting initiative, and National Popular Vote movement (Article 7: Participatory Governance)
We are among the many groups that want to be contributing knowledge, analysis, and recommendations for Utah’s future. It is in that spirit that we offer our 2018 report to interested readers.
A Declaration of Utah Human Rights
In recognition that the inherent right of every member of the human family to dignity and respect serves as the foundation of freedom, justice, and tranquility in the state of Utah, as well as the United States of America and the world; and in recognition that this right also frames the shared responsibilities of individuals, organizations, and governments; and inspired by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Utah Citizens’ Counsel (UCC) articulates the following statement of rights as the framework for UCC policy positions.
Article 1: All Utahns, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender and gender identity, language, disability, political preference, age, birth status, military status, or another status, are entitled equally to dignity and respect as human beings and to equitable treatment under the law.
Article 2: All Utahns, young and old, have the right to live and thrive in a healthy environment that includes clean air, land, and water, and share in the responsibility to pass that healthy environment on to succeeding generations.
Article 3: All Utahns have the right to a public education that ensures literacy, numeracy, critical thinking, character development, and the capability for responsible citizenship to help secure a promising future for Utah and the United States in a complex, interdependent, and competitive world.
Article 4: All Utahns have the right to comprehensive, quality health care at reasonable cost, and responsible societal efforts to help them achieve and maintain optimal well-being, with appropriate initiatives that encourage and facilitate healthy living and the prevention of disease, disability, and injury.
Article 5: All Utahns have the right to security of person, especially freedom from physical harm and psychological abuse, whether experienced within the family or in the community at large.
Article 6: All Utahns have the right to the fundamental social support systems that assist in assuring a standard of living adequate for the well-being of both the individual and families, in all their configurations, including timely assistance in case of unemployment, disability, old age, and natural or man-made disasters.
Article 7: All Utahns have the right to transparent and ethical governance as well as effective participation in the democratic process.