Harmons Allowing Tax Referendum Signatures At Its Stores

Jan 11, 2020, 10:59 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2020, 9:38 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The effort to overturn a new tax system with a referendum on the ballot got a big boost after Harmons Grocery allowed signatures to be collected at its stores.

Head into any Harmons 19 grocery stores in Utah and you’ll hear the same sounds and see the same signs as you normally do. Starting Saturday, though, there was a new sign getting a lot of attention.

Harmons stores have joined the effort to gather enough signatures to put the Utah state legislators new tax plan to a public referendum.

Roughly 115,000 verified petition signatures are needed to put the issue on the ballot and into voters’ hands.

The new system approved by legislatures would increase the food tax from 1.75 percent to 4.85 percent. KSL spoke to several people at the downtown Harmons location Saturday, who said the increase was just too much.

There were volunteers with desks and signs set up at entrances to each store for people to sign up.

“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s fantastic,” said Maren Green, one of many volunteers collecting verified signatures.

She’s worried about what the new tax on fuel will do to her because she runs a lawn care business and is concerned about the extra costs just to run her equipment.
Green said she already competes with under-the-table companies who don’t pay taxes or have a business license, meaning those companies can continue to offer customers a better price.

The fact a grocery store chain is allowing signatures says far more about the worry over the increase on food taxes.

“It’s part of the check and balances,” said Green. “Every once in a while, it’s necessary to have a referendum and quite a few people feel it’s necessary now.”

One of those who signed at the Harmons downtown location was Bob Harmon, the man in charge of Harmons stores.

“I very much believe in this,” said Harmon. “I have a sincere appreciation for legislators and the governor, and I think they do good work – but I think on this issue, it’s one that we just need to weigh in on. I think they can do better.”

Harmon said he knows it can be tricky for a business to get politically involved, but he feels letting the public decide is the right thing to do when it comes to an increase on food taxes.

“I just think that it’s going to put undue burden on those who are already struggling in trying to make ends meet,” said Harmon.

Allowing signatures at the stores has gone against the wishes of many in the legislature. Even the governor criticized Harmons for joining the citizen campaign trying to defeat the new tax laws.

“Our new formula here provides relief for (those people who make) $75,000 and lower,” said Governor Gary Herbert. “All that excess money is being generated – about $250 million – is being re-directed back in to help the poor people.”

Herbert said many programs will be funded by the additional tax revenue to help those with financial concerns.

Overall, the governor said 85 percent of Utah residents will be better off with the new tax system.

Of course, many disagree, which is why they feel a referendum is necessary to let voters decide.

“I think taxes on food are wrong,” said Jack Dalcourt, who came to the downtown Harmons just to sign the referendum. “For me, it’s not going to make a bit of difference whether I eat or not, but for some people it’s going to make a difference.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Officer Alondra Zavala with the West Jordan Police Department. (Lauren Steinbrecher/KSL TV)...
Lauren Steinbrecher

West Jordan police taking on nation-wide initiative to recruit women to force

The West Jordan Police Department is taking on a nation-wide initiative to recruit more women to join the police force. The goal: 30% by the year 2030.
1 day ago
Dylan Murphy was shot and killed by police after his family called for help with his mental health....
Ashley Moser

Family questions calling 9-1-1 for mental health crisis after Sandy police shoot and kill brother

The family of Dylan Murphy, 33, is questioning if they should have called 9-1-1 for help with their brother’s mental health crisis.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City's Mazza restaurant is a finalist for the James Beard Award. (Jack Grimm/KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero

Salt Lake’s Mazza named a finalist for prestigious restaurant award

Ali Sabbah has made a career out of serving Middle Eastern food at his Mazza restaurant in the 15th and 15th neighborhood of Salt Lake City.
1 day ago
Two people North Park police say are connected to a bomb threat in a Walmart on Friday, March 31, 2...
Gabrielle Shiozawa

Police seek help identifying 2 accused of making bomb threat at North Logan Walmart

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying two young men they believe made a bomb threat at the North Logan Walmart, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of store patrons and workers Friday afternoon.
1 day ago
Kay and Larry Woodcock (Pool photo)...
Lauren Steinbrecher

JJ Vallow’s grandparents fight claim they shouldn’t be allowed to watch Lori Vallow Daybell trial

The grandparents of Joshua JJ Vallow are asking an Idaho judge to allow them to sit in court and appoint them to represent the murdered 7-year-old, on the eve of the trial for JJ’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell.
1 day ago
Snow covers canyon road completely...
Jed Boal

UDOT fights to keep roads open as avalanche danger continues into April

Greg Gagne, an avalanche forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center, said the Wasatch mountains will continue to see elevated avalanche danger throughout the weekend, and rising danger early next week when then next storm moves in Sunday night.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
Harmons Allowing Tax Referendum Signatures At Its Stores