On December 12, 2019, I sat in the Gallery of the Utah State Senate at the Capitol
Building to watch a special session. The session was called to consider adoption of
the Tax Reform Bill.
The people seated next to me were against the bill. I went out in the hall and the
people there were against the bill. I likewise was not in support of raising taxes on
food and changing the funding for education as proposed by the bill.
Then a citizen referendum came along. As it was getting started I went to the Capitol
Building to sign my support of the referendum. When I went there, I noticed very few people attending. I met and got to know some of the people taking signatures. There seemed to be little support that day. They asked if I would help do the work. I declined due to my schedule but said that I would help in other ways if possible.
As I stayed in touch over the holidays it became apparent that they were going to need help to get it done. On Monday afternoon January 6th, as I was talking with one of the members of the group, I suggested that they go to the grocery stores and be where people can come to them.
They replied that they appreciated the suggestion but that they had already asked a store and were turned down. I then suggested that they try a local grocery store chain such as Harmons.
On Thursday afternoon, January 10th, Harmons announced that they had agreed to have the referendum volunteers use their stores to gather signatures. Associated Foods joined in with the use of their stores soon thereafter.
In fact Harmon's CEO and CFO both had signed the referendum the week before that time and were thinking of joining the effort. During that week other members of the referendum group had also suggested contacting Harmons and did so, gaining their support. Many people were thinking the same thing at the same time to help get the packets available for people to sign.
As has been published, the referendum was successful in gathering enough signatures and because of it the State Legislature has now repealed the Tax Reform law that was passed just last month.
As the Mayor of Orem, I have been involved with multiple referendums in regards to issues in the city. I personally support the rights of the people and the voices of the people to be heard and used through the referendum process.
No one has all of the answers. I believe that it is important for all of us, public officials and citizens, to weigh in on public policy and work together to craft the best decisions and laws as possible to meet the needs of our community.
I am thankful for all of the citizens who are willing to voice their concerns and opinions to help our communities.