Please join us on zoom (link available via email) from 7-7:40pm MT every other Wednesday night: W Feb 16, W March 2, etc. All are welcome! We’ll talk about policy development and outreach efforts as we prepare to qualify for the Nov 2024 ballot by collecting signatures from about Feb 27 – Nov 27, 2023. (Mark your calendars, and follow the previous link if you’re new to the campaign and want to get caught up!)

Introducing SB187 from Senator Derek Kitchen: We’ve been advising Senator Derek Kitchen (D-Salt Lake) on a clean-air-and-climate bill that he’s just introduced, so come Wednesday night to learn about SB187! There’s slim odds of passing a bill in this session, which goes through March 4, but it’s worth trying and it will contribute to the public discussion. Here’s the bill page and here’s a summary (with gory details here) of what the bill does:

  • Makes public transit free and provides $50m a year to Utah Transit Authority to provide fare-free transit.
  • Funds a 10% refundable match of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families.
  • Puts $5m a year into rural economic development and $5m a year into clean air non-profits.
  • Eliminates regressive state sales taxes, notably the state sales tax on grocery store food.
  • Pays for all this with a carbon emissions tax on consumption in Utah of motor fuels (gasoline,  diesel, and aviation fuel), natural gas, fossil-fuel generated electricity, and certain other fossil fuels burned in industrial facilities.

Bring your comments and questions to the meeting Wednesday night! And note that the legislature just passed a 15% non-refundable EITC match. The difference is important because many low-income working families don’t have much state income tax liability. If your state income tax liability is $100 and you qualify for a $300 match then a non-refundable match lowers your state income tax liability to zero (a $100 benefit) while a refundable match sends you a check for $200 on top of that (for a total benefit of $300). The federal EITC is refundable, as are many (but not all) state EITC matches.

Grand Canyon 2023: We’re exploring the possibility of a campaign bonding experience in spring 2023 at Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. If you’re a good hiker and are interested in helping join the lottery for a cabin reservation please let me know ASAP. (It’s free to enter the lottery, and you don’t have to commit now to going in spring 2023, but lottery submissions for April 2023 are due no later than Feb 25 of this year.)

PS. Help Becky Edwards qualify for the ballot: Climate and air quality champion Becky Edwards, who served in the state House from 2008-2018, is challenging Mike Lee for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. To make sure she’s on the primary ballot she’ll need to gather 28,000 signatures this winter and spring, so this is an opportunity for us to help a strong candidate… and get signature-gathering practice! If you’re interested you can sign up here.