Almost immediately after the tax reform bill passed during a special legislative session and was signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert in December, everyday citizens — like Michele Alder of North Logan — jumped into action.
“I think that, yes, this may be more of a democratic approach, but that's because the representative part is broken,” Alder said.
Alder said she’s not only concerned about how the increase on food items will affect low- and fixed-income families, she is opposed to the income tax reduction as it could lead to less money for education.
In order to put the tax reforms on hold and go to the ballot in November, the referendum needs 116,000 validated signatures, representing at least 8% of the population in 15 counties across the state by 5 p.m. on Tuesday. As of Friday morning, the referendum has 39,428 validated signatures — about a third of the necessary amount. The population quota has been met in five counties.
House Representative Val Potter, who represents District 3 in Northern Utah, believes the overall tax decreases will help the majority of Utahns. Ultimately, he said the goal is to balance the budget and make sure state services are properly met and paid for.
“There's always those that will say we didn't do enough and maybe we didn't do enough," he said. "I don't know that you could ever do enough to inform everybody, and make everybody understand and accept what you're trying to do.”
In an update on the Facebook page for the 2019 Tax Referendum, volunteer Krista Palmer of the Utah Tax Reform Coilition said the referendum’s numbers are encouraging as not every signature has been counted and validated. Palmer says based on their unofficial count, the county quota has been met, but the total signatures still need a push through the Tuesday deadline.
Update: The due date for signatures in an earlier version of this story was incorrect. The due date has since been corrected.