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Mormons: Church & State!

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  • rlbaty50
    DECEMBER 3, 2004 FRIDAY HEADLINE: UTAH GOVERNOR S TAX REFORM PLAN GIVES DEFERENCE TO CHURCH PRIORITIES. Published by Tax Analysts Outgoing Utah Gov. Olene
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2004
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      DECEMBER 3, 2004 FRIDAY

      HEADLINE: UTAH GOVERNOR'S TAX REFORM PLAN GIVES DEFERENCE TO CHURCH
      PRIORITIES.

      Published by Tax Analysts

      Outgoing Utah Gov. Olene Walker (R) recently offered two options for
      converting Utah's income tax system to a single-rate flat tax as part
      of a broader tax reform plan. One option would eliminate all
      deductions. The other would -- at the cost of a higher rate -- retain
      deductions for charitable contributions, home mortgage interest, and
      dependents.

      The second, more politically saleable option, was seen as a way to
      avoid opposition from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
      (LDS Church), which is based in Salt Lake City and claims membership
      of more than two-thirds of the state's population.

      Walker sent three members of her tax reform task force to brief
      leaders of the church before the plan was publicly released November
      22, a gubernatorial spokesperson said in an interview with Utah's
      largest newspaper.

      Walker's chief of staff, Gary Doxey, along with Utah Tax Review
      Commission Chair Keith Prescott and Gary Cornia, a management
      professor at LDS-owned Brigham Young University, met with church
      officials in early November, according to Justin Smart, the
      governor's spokesperson. The religious leaders, including LDS
      Presiding Bishop H. David Burton, mentioned charitable deductions,
      among other issues. But "the tax package didn't change based on that
      meeting," Smart said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune.

      Church officials had no immediate comment or official position on
      Walker's tax reform plan, which includes several significant changes
      to the income, sales, and property taxes.

      Dan Harrie,
      Salt Lake City

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