Utahns face decisions on two proposed amendments to the state constitution on this year's election ballot. Constitutional Amendment A would require that a fixed portion of severance tax revenues be placed in the state's permanent trust fund. We urge rejection of that amendment. Constitutional Amendment B would give members of the military on active duty out of state a break on their property taxes. We urge support of that amendment.
• Severance taxes are imposed on businesses that extract oil, natural gas or minerals (but not coal) from beneath land within the state. The total raised over the past 10 years, excluding revenues reserved for Indian tribes, amount to about $70 million annually. The bulk of the money is deposited into the general fund to pay for government services and operations.
A previous constitutional amendment, passed by voters in 2008, allows the Legislature to set aside a portion of severance tax revenues in the permanent trust. Earnings from that fund are then deposited into the general fund.