Tax reformers scurried Monday to collect a few final signatures on petitions to put three tax-reform initiatives on the fall ballot and to submit the petitions to county clerks statewide by a 5 p.m. deadline.
"We think we have collected roughly 95,000 signatures for each initiative. But by the time the county clerks verify the signatures (to ensure they are from registered voters), we expect we will have 65,000 to 75,000 left," said Greg Beesley, president of the Tax Limitation Coalition of Utah.The group needs to collect roughly 63,000 verified signatures - or 10 percent of the registered voters living in 15 of Utah's 29 counties - to put the initiatives on the ballot.
"The clerks will have 27 days to verify the signatures and pass them on to the lieutenant governor's office."
Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Utahns favor such tax cuts, but opponents say it would devastate the state's school systems and other governmental services.
Beesley said tax reformers have been working 14 months to collect the signatures. "It's been a monumental effort. We've collected more than 250,000 signatures for the three initiatives. I don't think there's ever been an effort like that before. I think people have passed two initiatives at a time before but not three.