A bill proposed by Representative Marie Poulson (Democrat – Cottonwood Heights) that would have provided an income tax credit to people who purchase a transit pass during peak pollution times in January, February, or July failed to pass on a 7-7 tie vote in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee Friday.
Republicans Steve Eliason (Sandy), Francis Gibson (Mapleton), Eric Hutchings (Kearns), and Kay McIff (Richfield) voted with the Democrats to pass the bill while the seven no votes came from the remaining Republicans on the committee.
Royce Van Tassel, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, spoke against the legislation. “The broad policy of keeping our income tax base as broad as possible is an important one and for that reason we oppose the bill.”
Carl Ingwell of the Utah Clean Air Alliance spoke in favor of the bill. “A monthly pass costs almost $90, which can be out of a lot of people’s price range and I think that some sort of incentive to kind of cut down that cost and bridge the gap a little bit for people is exactly what we need to encourage ridership. I think that these three months out of the year might do a lot to build long-term habits and if people have that opportunity to build a long-term habit it could really go far to clean up our air.”
Despite bipartisan support and a tie vote, it is doubtful that the two absent Republican lawmakers, Representative Jim Nielson (Bountiful) and Mel Brown (Coalville), would have voted in favor of the measure.