Restaurant Tax may stay |

Restaurant Tax may stay

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

State lawmakers have rejected a proposal that would eliminate the Restaurant Tax in Utah. For several years counties have been allowed to add a 1-percent tax to restaurant checks for sales of prepared food.

The money raised in Summit County has gone to non-profit groups operating programs that attract visitors to the area. Grants from the Restaurant Tax have supported organizations like the Park City Performing Arts Foundation and the Park City Arts Festival.

Substitute language in House Bill 48 would eliminate the Restaurant Tax and replace it with an increase in sales tax on most purchases countywide. Last week, however, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 9-6 to reject the legislation.

Summit County Councilwoman Claudia McMullin said she is against the bill.

"It’s dead for now," McMullin said. "It’s awesome."

From the local Restaurant Tax, groups operating in Summit County received nearly $1.5 million last year.

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McMullin praised the Park City Chamber/Bureau and Park City Restaurant Association for helping defeat HB 48.

"Those are the parties who have been most effective," McMullin said.

Rep. Christine Johnson, a Salt Lake City Democrat who represents parts of the Snyderville Basin, serves on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Johnson voted against the bill Feb. 11.

Supporters of ending the tax said Utahns account for 85 percent of restaurant patrons throughout the state. However, much of the Restaurant Tax in Summit County is collected from people who are visiting Utah.