Referendum organizers blast Utah Taxpayers Association for supporting tax reform law

Special session bill hurts taxpayers with hefty tax increases for food, fuel & services

Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 3, 2020—Organizers of a tax bill referendum say the Utah Taxpayers Association (UTA) is actually hurting taxpayers by supporting S.B. 2001, tax reform legislation that raises food and fuel taxes and adds first time taxes for services that hurt consumers and businesses.

“The Utah Taxpayer Association claims we misunderstand the tax reform bill, but they actually need to read the Utah Constitution” says Fred C. Cox, referendum organizer and former state legislator.

Cox says the UTA made many errors in its efforts to clear up “myths, misunderstandings and falsehoods” about the bill. Cox says Utahns should sign the referendum because the tax reform law hurts Utahns in these ways:

  • Raising the food sales tax 177% causes families to have less cash every time they buy groceries. Also, low-income residents will not have the means to pay an accountant so the state can pay them back later.
  • Pushing the gasoline state sales tax up by 35% means people will have less money every time they fill up their gas tank and the increase will drive up the price of goods.
  • Reducing general funds to public and secondary schools will mean other taxes will go up to replace those. Likely, property and school district taxes will have to go up to make the difference.
  • Changes the funding of roads by removing the constitutional required funding from transportation related taxes, including sales tax, and replacing it with highway user fees and a road usage charge program. 
  • Increasing sales taxes on services could drive businesses out of the state, the opposite of what the UTA claims the tax reform bill will accomplish.

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

The legislature requires referendum backers to gather 116,000 signatures, divided proportionally among at least 15 of Utah’s 29 counties, by January 21. So far 3,400 people have signed the petition. The referendum has also raised more than $28,000 to pay for the printing of signature packets.

Voters can learn more on how to sign the petition, volunteer or make donations at https://utah2019tax.com/. The full response to the UTA press release is at https://utah2019tax.com/press.

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