CACHE COUNTY – Local volunteers are collecting signatures from registered voters in Cache County in an effort to contest Utah’s new tax reform bill.
Non-partisan political forces organized days after the Utah Legislature passed the bill during a special session in December 2019.
Because the bill failed to pass by at least two-thirds of the legislature, residents can challenge the law with a statewide referendum.
Petitions are circulating throughout the state in hopes of gathering 116,000 signatures. If the petition reaches the required threshold, the new tax law would go on a ballot in 2020 for voters to approve or repeal.
Craig Bowden is helping organize several signing events in Cache Valley.
“We had a line out the door for the majority of the time we were at the library,” said Bowden, describing an event last Saturday at the Logan Public Library.
Bowden is a veteran and said he is opposed to the new tax reform bill.
“If a veteran is sitting at the 100% disability rate…they wouldn’t qualify for any of those (tax) credits that are being proposed. It’s going to hit them in the pocketbook extremely hard between the gas tax and the food tax. There isn’t really relief for veterans and they have already sacrificed a lot and now they are being asked to sacrifice even more,” he said.
Bowden said volunteers in Cache County need to gather 4,560 signatures to help secure their portion of the effort. He is hoping to collect 6,800 signatures.
Cache County Republican Party Chair Chris Booth said the local GOP organization came out against the bill and lobbied local legislators to oppose it. None of them did.
“Because of the overall negative impact it’s going to have on the working middle class families in Utah, especially here in Cache County, we just couldn’t support it,” said Booth. “We don’t believe in any unnecessary burden on the taxpayers.”
The bill that sparked the referendum lowers the state income tax and offers tax break for low- to moderate-income residents. It also increases the state sales tax on unprepared food from 1.75% to 4.85%.
Tax referendum signing locations in Cache County include:
Smithfield Public Library
25 Main Street
January 2, 4-7 p.m.
Logan Public Library
255 Main St
January 4, 1-4 p.m.
50 W Main St.
January 4, noon-3 p.m.