Deadline on state tax referendum looms

Susie Via Williams signs a petition challenging Utah's new tax reform bill. Volunteers across the state have until January 21 to collect 116,000 signatures from registered voters. Hillary Gingell volunteered at the Macy's in Providence, January 13, 2020.

LOGAN – Tuesday is the last day to sign the referendum challenging Utah’s new tax reform bill.

The legislature passed the bill during a special legislative session in December 2019. Because the bill failed to pass by at least two-thirds of the legislature, voters can challenge the law with a statewide referendum.

Those behind the petition have until January 21 to gather 116,000 signatures throughout the state. If the petition reaches the required threshold, the new tax law would go on the November ballot in 2020 for voters to approve or repeal.

The bill that sparked the referendum lowered the state income tax, but hiked the sales tax on food, gasoline and imposed new sales taxes on some other services. Republican leaders on Utah’s Capitol Hill insist it is necessary to address structural imbalances that pay for essential government services.

Volunteers will gather signatures Tuesday in a last ditch effort to secure the 4,560 signatures needed for Cache County’s portion of the effort.

Locations to sign the petition include:

1. Macey’s grocery store in Providence –  8 am – 3 pm

2. Logan Library – 1-4 pm

3. Outside the Historic Cache County Courthouse – 3-4 pm

All signatures will need to be turned in and accepted at the Cache County Clerk’s office by 5 p.m.

Smithfield resident Layne Beck is working with a citizens group regarding the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum and said he got involved after the Legislature passed the bill.

“I will have turned in at least eight books of 49 signatures each so far,” Beck said. ”From what I saw at the clerk’s office, I think we are close to the number of signatures needed from Cache Valley.”

He said, besides the signatures needed they also have to have 15 of the 29 counties with enough signatures to put it on a ballot.

“What will happen is the vote will be up or down in a general election,” he said. “The legislature will have to hold off implementation of the bill if there are enough signatures.”

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