Governor Gary Herbert has urged lawmakers not to raise any taxes during the current legislative session saying that doing so could threaten a slowly rebounding economy. State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, who is co-chairman of the Executive Appropriations Committee, says it would be tough to deal with a $700 million budget shortfall without raising taxes or making devastating cuts to all areas of government.Hillyard has said he could probably support an increase in the cigarette tax but he says there are several different groups who claim they would get that money.”For example, people working in treatment programs and those who want to do smoking cessation, they all have a feeling that this money belongs to them,” Hillyard says. “So if you get that money and turn around and try to use it for education or health and human services issues you’re going to get a kick back from those people.”Hillyard says another problem is there is some talk in the House about cutting taxes in another area if cigarette taxes are increased. That way, Hillyard says, there would be no new net revenue.
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