Organizers call on Utahns to sign referendum delaying tax reform bill

Jan 4, 2020, 7:12 AM

Organizers of a tax referendum say the Utah TaxPayers Association is actually hurting Utahns with t...

Organizers of a tax referendum say the Utah TaxPayers Association is actually hurting Utahns with tax increases. Photo: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Organizers are calling on Utahns to sign a referendum that puts a recent tax reform bill on hold until residents can vote on it this fall. The group says the proposed tax reform hurts taxpayers, businesses and consumers.

The group has to gather around 116,000 signatures by Jan. 21 to get the issue on the ballot in November. As of Friday, 3,400 people have signed the petition and the group has raised more than $28,000 to pay for the printing of signature packets.

The legislation raises food, fuel and service taxes, which referendum organizer and former state legislator Fred C. Cox says hurts Utahns in several ways.

“Not only is raising taxes on food wrong, raising fuel prices bad, taking money from education questionable,” the referendum organizer’s response said. “The whole idea of moving all sales tax money away from roads […] is wrong.”

Cox pointed to several different ways the tax increases affect Utahns, saying the Utah TaxPayers Association “made many errors in its efforts to clear up ‘myths, misunderstandings and falsehoods’ about the bill.”

Food Sales Tax

The proposed legislation seeks to increase the state sales tax on food and food ingredients. The increase will jump from its current 1.75% to a 4.85% sales tax, according to the bill.

Cox said “raising the food sales tax 177% causes families to have less cash every time they buy groceries.”

Cox added that this increase will affect low-income families, as they don’t have the resources to pay an accountant that will ensure the government will repay them later.

“Why should a family making it without the government be pushed into requiring help?” the statement said.

Fuel Tax

The tax reform bill, if passed, would also increase the tax on motor fuel and special fuel other than diesel, according to the bill. Cox argues this increase would harm Utahns that drive around town by giving them less money to buy food.

“These added fuel costs will drive up the cost of goods at the register as well,” Cox said.

Education Tax Reduction

One of the bill provisions will repeal certain transfers from the General Fund to the Education Fund, the bill says. However, the bill states this will not hurt public education.

“Reducing general funds to public and secondary schools will mean other taxes will go up to replace those,” Cox said. “Likely, property and school district taxes will have to go up to make the difference.”

In his response, Cox said either legislators would have to change the Utah constitution or “make sure property taxes go up.”

Future of the Referendum

Cox notes that the referendum won’t directly change the law — it will only freeze the bill until voters can directly vote on it in November.

“The UTA wrongly claims the referendum will hike taxes,” Cox said. “It only puts the tax reforms on hold until voters decide its fate.”

Voters can learn more about the petition here, or read the full press release for more information on the organizer’s response.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Winter conditions...

Carter Williams,

Here’s what to expect as remnants of California blizzard head to Utah

Much of Utah is under a winter weather advisory as remnants of California's blizzard heads to Utah. Wind and cold temperatures on the way.

11 minutes ago

food pantries...

Heather Peterson

Food pantries running low due to spike in demand

According to Feeding America, 316,980 people are facing hunger in Utah, and 93,050 are children.

33 minutes ago

Now hiring sign...

PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer

US economy grew solid 3.2% in fourth quarter, a slight downgrade from government’s initial estimate

Far from stumbling, the economy grew 2.5% for all of 2023, topping the 1.9% growth in 2022.

55 minutes ago

baby feet, utah postpartum retreat helps new moms...

Britt Johnson

Utah company aims to help postpartum moms with special retreats

The founder of Utah Postpartum Retreat said she thinks new moms are at high risk for developing postpartum mood disorders because they lack support.

2 hours ago

Example of a possible future salvage project on Lake Powell....

Derrick Jones

Lake Powell asks for public’s help locating possible salvage

Park officials want to know where sunken vessels were seen as Lake Powell reached record low levels.

2 hours ago

Power lines are pictured in utah, utah has lower electricity bill than other states...

Tammy Kikuchi

Study shows Utahns pay cheapest electricity bills in the country

Utah residents are paying less for power than any other state. Rocky Mountain Power says they work hard to keep it that way.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Organizers call on Utahns to sign referendum delaying tax reform bill