Taxes on textbooks

Students from all over the state have rallied behind a bill trying to eliminate taxes charged on the sale of textbooks.

An idea presented to the Utah state legislature from the Coalition of Higher Education for affordable textbooks is a bill asking for a $4.7 million tax break with portions of the break coming from both the state’s general tax fund and local governments.

The bill simply aims for textbooks to be exempt from sales tax.

An estimated $50 per student would be saved per semester, which is seemingly small, but can add up over the course in earning a four-year degree.

All nine schools of higher education in Utah have joined the initiative to support this bill, even with support from private institutions such as BYU and Westminster.

Student leaders from colleges and universities statewide went to Capitol Hill earlier this month to endorse the bill.
Included among those student leaders were UVSC’s Student Body President Kris Coles and former Academic Vice President Amy Engh.

Coles reportedly paid about $400 for his fall semester books and told the Daily Herald, "It’s the exception not to pay that much money."

Engh, who is currently serving as the student member for the state board of regents told the Deseret Morning News, "This shouldn’t be seen as a loss to the state, but more of a reinvestment in higher education."

An antagonistic ideal surrounding the bill is that tuition prices in Utah are much more affordable than other states, so there shouldn’t be a need for this bill. Also a conflicting issue for the bill is the actual cost of textbooks being the problem, so alleviating the tax is not the solution.

Rep. Greg Hughes-R, Draper, will present the bill in January 2008, the next meeting of the state legislature. Representative Hughes is a former UVSC student.

Over a dozen other states have already put bills such as this one into place.

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