Bill to Eliminate Social Security Tax for Low-Income Seniors Shot Down in Utah


A Utah bill that would have exempted low-income seniors from having their Social Security benefits taxed was shot down this week when the bill failed to advance out of committee.

[The text of the bill can be read here].

Senator Todd Weiler [R] proposed the bill; he said that low-income seniors who depend on Social Security could flee to nearby states that don’t tax such income.

His remarks to the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, as reported by Utah Political Capitol:

“I am tired of getting emails from senior citizens saying ‘why does Utah hate senior citizens?’ And when I first got those emails I kind of thought ‘well that’s ridiculous’ but, as I research this, there is actually some merit to that.” Weiler explained to the committee.

Weiler also added that while working, we are already taxed on Social Security and for the state to tax the income post-retirement is akin to double taxation on the states part. As a reminder, Weiler also told the committee that Social Security is an earned benefit, meaning that if you don’t work, you are not able to take advantage of the benefit.

But another Republican Senator, Curt Bramble, objected to the bill and its $1.2 million price tag. He countered Weiler’s remarks, according to Utah Political Capitol:

“What we are really talking about is taxpayers contributing half of their Social Security cost from their paycheck because their employer pays half and gets a deduction, so [employees] are not paying tax on half of their contributions, not on 100 percent of their contributions,” Bramble told the committee, adding that those at extremely low incomes are already exempt from state and federal taxes on Social Security benefits.

Bramble went on to defend the current tax structure, noting that changes in the tax structure to implement the current flat tax required some moving and shifting with the Social Security taxation – adding that they considered the impact such changes would have on the very poor who collect Social Security.

Utah is one of 13 states that tax Social Security benefits.


Photo by  vxla via Flickr CC License

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