The League of Women Voters of Utah will not support the initiative to take the sales tax off food that will appear on the November ballot, although it opposes the tax.
The policy of the non-partisan organization has been to oppose a sales tax on food because it is regressive and disproportionately affects low-income families, according to Utah League officials.But the group is making an exception for the initiative that won a place on the general election ballot through a statewide petition drive by the newly formed Independent Party.
"If the wording of the initiative included guaranteed replacements for funds supporting health and human services, local government as well as public and higher education, we could support it," said Terri McCulloch, co-president of the Utah League.
"Until we are certain that Utah's tax structure will be more progressive and impact low-income people less, we cannot get behind what we consider to be an inappropriate initiative," McCulloch said.
The Utah League is suggesting that voters ask a number of questions before casting their ballots, including whether the $113 million in lost state and local government revenues will be replaced or if programs will be cut.
The organization suggests voters should also find out whether low-income families would be better off if they paid no food tax or they would suffer because they receive fewer social services.
The Utah Public Employees Association, the UEA and the state Board of Regents also oppose the initiative.