The Republican Party in Utah has recently given up any pretense of caring about limited government, fiscal conservatism, or anyone who isn't rich. Late last year during the winter holiday, with as little fanfare as possible, Governor Herbert passed a very unpopular tax reform that seems specifically written as a "screw you" to the lower classes. Not that everything in the bill is bad, or that allocating additional funds for education and mental health is bad, but as politicians like to do they've made those redeeming qualities inseparable from the crap and are now using those qualities to feed us barefaced lies about how this tax reform is good for us little people and we're stupid for opposing it.
I, for one, am especially livid about taxes on groceries going from 1.75% to 4.85%. Free from any longer maintaining the pretense of wanting to cut spending, Republicans brainstormed all the ways they could raise money for their future spending increases, and finally decided "Let's punish low-income people for eating." Or maybe that was their first choice from the beginning, because after all, corporations are people but people aren't people. Exhibit A: Now that Harmon's and a few other grocery store chains are publicly opposing this particular increase, Governor Herbert is upset that they didn't come and talk with them first about their concerns that he didn't care about when they were only voiced by thousands of average citizens.
In his defense, even though it's off-topic, I will say that Governor Herbert isn't a complete waste of a human being. He has betrayed the Republican Party by welcoming refugees to Utah and asking Trump to send more, despite the outrage this has generated from thousands of his constituents who have the audacity to call themselves Latter-day Saints. So I want to like him. This latest development causes me some amount of cognitive dissonance.
The laws of Utah do, however, provide a way out of this. We, the people, have generously been granted something like three weeks, including a few major federal holidays, to gather 116,000 signatures on a referendum opposing the bill that the government had months to write. If successful, this referendum will block the bill from going into immediate effect and instead will leave it to the people of Utah to vote on. Although this might set a dangerous precedent of elected officials not being able to do whatever they want, it's a calculated risk that's uniting people from all over the political spectrum. Now there are ten days left and it's impossible to say how many signatures have been gathered, as many haven't yet been turned in and/or verified.
The biggest obstacle is that a great number of people have never heard of this tax thing in the first place. The lying cowards who passed it haven't exactly gone out of their way to advertise it, until now when they're in damage-control mode. In my own very limited sphere of influence I've been sharing updates that are either getting blacklisted by Facebook's algorithms or just universally ignored. It's times like this I wish I was famous and influential, but then I would probably also be rich and not care.
To find a signing location near you and/or volunteer to collect signatures, please join the Facebook group Utah 2019 Tax Referendum
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.