SALT LAKE CITY (3/31/2021)—Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a 13-state lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Treasury, challenging a provision of the American Rescue Plan Act that punishes states for making any changes to any laws that would reduce taxes.
On March 16, Attorney General Reyes, and 20 other state attorneys general also sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen highlighting the constitutional concerns regarding the American Rescue Plan Act’s federal tax mandate and requesting that the Secretary clarify her department’s interpretation of that provision. The Secretary’s response was ambiguous and directly contradicted what the principal proponent of the federal tax mandate, Senator Joe Manchin, expected the effect of that provision to be: that states would be forbidden from cutting taxes in any manner whatsoever through the year 2024.
Attorney General Reyes said: “The Utah Legislature recently passed $100 million in tax relief to families with children, veterans and older residents receiving Social Security. But that relief is now at risk because the American Rescue Plan Act potentially denies states the ability to cut taxes. Today we joined in this lawsuit against the Administration in addition to earlier joint letter asking Secretary Yellen to confirm that the Act will not prohibit Utah and other states from providing much-needed tax relief.”
“This federal tax mandate is an unprecedented and unconstitutional assault on state sovereignty by the federal government, which would commandeer the State of Utah’s sovereign power to tax and spend and determine her own fiscal policies,” Alabama Attorney General Marshall added. “Today, I and the other state attorneys general filed suit against the Biden administration to block the enforcement of this grievous federal encroachment on states’ rights.”
Similar lawsuits have also been filed in other jurisdictions by the states of Arizona, Missouri, and Ohio.