Utah Taxpayers Association backs change to voter initiative process

Feb 14, 2024, 10:00 AM

Utah MLB...

FILE: The Capitol is pictured in Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. On Tuesday, Utah lawmakers made a major change to a bill that would fund a Major League Baseball stadium west of Salt Lake City.(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — More Utah lawmakers and the Utah Taxpayers Association are backing a bill and joint resolution that changes the ballot initiative process in Utah.

Namely, HB284  and HJR14 increase the percentage of voters needed to sign off on initiatives that deal with taxes.

Right now, a simple majority, or 50% of voters, must approve such changes. HB284 would require 60% of voters to approve.

A representative from the Utah Taxpayers Association thinks the change is a good idea.

“Raising the threshold to pass an initiative puts a check on out-of-state special interests who want to increase taxes on Utah families to fund their priorities,” Rusty Cannon, with the Utah Taxpayers Association, told Senators during a senate hearing this week.

The Deseret News reported that the concern over outside interests refers to a ballot initiative passed by Utah voters in 2018 that expanded Medicaid.

Cannon also reminded lawmakers that HB284 changes the voter initiative process only when those initiatives deal with taxes.

“It’s dealing with taxes. This will not address any other type of voter initiative,” Cannon said.

As reported by the Deseret News, opponents of the bill and joint resolution are concerned about the number of ballot initiatives on tap for voters in November.

HB284 has moved to the Utah Senate. If approved there, and then signed by Gov. Cox, the voters will have their say in November.

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Utah Taxpayers Association backs change to voter initiative process