NORTH LOGAN – As the house chair of the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Val Potter, R-District 3, said he looks forward to getting back to work on behalf of the residents of Utah and Cache County.
“I’ve had a lot of people coming to me with requests for a variety of things related to economic development as well as social and civic things throughout the community,” he said. “There’s a lot happening in that area so I’m looking forward to getting them in front of the committee and talking specifically about what’s going to be best for the state.”
Potter will also introduce eight house bills during the upcoming 2020 legislative session, set to begin Monday, January 27.
He said the bills will include “important changes to state codes that will make things better and more efficient in state government.”
“The (Cache County) Sheriff has me working on a partial retirement bill,” Potter said. “There’s a huge problem throughout the state with keeping and finding law enforcement officers.”
By state statute, law enforcement employees are forced to retire after 25 years.
“This (bill) gives current employees the opportunity to do a post retirement. They can opt for a partial retirement…that way the sheriff and the cities can maintain the police officers. We’d love to have them back in the system because we just can’t find enough qualified people to become law enforcement officers,” he said.
Potter said he is not excited about the possibility of going back to the drawing board on the tax reform bill that was passed in a special legislative session in December 2109.
Opponents of the package that reduces income taxes while raising sales tax on food, gas and some services say they have gathered more than 150,000 voter signatures on a petition to contest the tax reform bill.
If 116,000 of those signatures are verified, the new tax law will go on a ballot in 2020 for voters to approve or repeal.
“If this referendum goes to the vote of the people and they vote it down, then we are in a bind,” Potter stated. “We don’t know what we are going to do at that point to take care of the needs of the state.”
Potter said legislators worked on tax reform for 18 months. There are portions of the bill he said he didn’t like, “but this overall has to happen.”
Potter said he is not opposed to the referendum process, however, “if the referendum passes then the legislature has to re-do everything related to the social services budget, transportation, higher education, criminal justice and correction,” he said. “All of those things flow into the majority of our general fund. We’ll have to stop that because right now the federal fund won’t take care of the needs of the state.”
Potter said there are “certain things that referendums should not be used for and tax reform is one them.”