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Tax referendum will not appear on the ballot now that the bill has been repealed

Posted at 3:01 PM, Jan 29, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox said the referendum on the legislature’s tax overhaul bill will not appear on the November ballot.

In a statement Wednesday, the Lt. Governor said that since the tax bill had been repealed by the legislature and signed by Governor Gary Herbert, it was now “moot.”

“The purpose of a referendum petition is to refer a law passed by the legislature to a vote of the people. Since that law has been repealed, there is no longer an existing law to refer to the people, effectively making the referendum moot,” he said. “Therefore, the referendum question will not appear on Utahn’s ballots this year. I would like to thank Utah’s county clerks and their teams for the tremendous amount of work they have done in processing over 145,000 signatures in a very short amount of time.”

It will be a mystery just how many validated signatures qualified. County clerks have been told they can stop counting signatures with the tax bill repealed. As of Wednesday morning, the Lt. Governor’s Office had reported 133,965 verified signatures. Referendum organizers had claimed to have submitted close to 170,000.

State elections officials told FOX 13 the signatures had a 93% validation rate, meaning not many were being rejected for bad addresses or mismatching signatures.