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2nd tax reform referendum rejected by Utah elections officials

By Lisa Riley Roche, KSL | Posted - Dec. 18, 2019 at 9:57 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — State elections officials on Wednesday rejected a second referendum on the tax reform bill passed last week in a special session of the Utah Legislature.

The application by the People’s Right just before Tuesday’s deadline included sponsors who had not voted in a general election in the state within the last three years as required by law, a letter from Utah deputy elections director Derek Brenchley stated.

Steve Maxfield, the chairman of the group behind the referendum, said he included his newly-registered-to-vote 18-year-old son Morris as a sponsor to let him “exercise his right to directly participate in the legislative process.” Maxfield said he “absolutely” plans to challenge the state’s decision in court.

Former Republican state lawmaker Fred Cox filed a referendum Monday in the hopes of repealing the massive tax reform legislation expected to be signed by Gov. Gary Herbert that reduces state income taxes while raising sales taxes on food, gas and some services to help rebalance the state budget.

Referendum supporters will have to collect signatures from nearly 116,000 Utah voters in at least 15 of Utah’s 29 counties by Jan. 21 to qualify for the November 2020 ballot. Cox has said he will use volunteers to circulate referendum petitions, but Maxfield has said that will fail and wanted to use professional signature-gatherers.

Lisa Riley Roche

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