The Truth Behind Utah’s Tax Referendum – What You Need Know

I want to talk to you today about the horrible tax bill recently passed by the Utah legislature in a recent special session, as well as the referendum currently gathering signatures. While we strongly oppose the tax bill and are philosophically in agreement with the citizens involved in the movement, we want to explain why Defending Utah as an organization won’t be supporting the referendum project itself. This may surprise or upset many of you, but we hope you will take the time to rationally consider what we have to say. There is always more going on in the big picture, and understanding that big picture empowers the people to win the long game against the enemies of freedom.



We have a reputation of saying things that are upsetting to many that would normally be considered “allies,” but that comes with our long-term strategy of saying the principled thing, not the popular thing. It’s about long-term credibility. Even if we say something that makes you upset, you can be sure our goal is to be on a foundation of principles that don’t change from situation to situation. Time and time again we have people coming to us saying, “I’d like to apologize to Defending Utah. Your report on X made me so mad. I didn’t like you… until I figured out you were right.”

The Psalmist was led to say:

Lead me O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth, their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they FLATTER with their tongue. Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.Psalms 5:8-10

The enemies of freedom use flattery to cover deception and often succeed in gaining our attention this way.  Because of this, the truth itself can be denied the attention it needs. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” said Solomon, “but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” And again: “A lying tongue hateth those that are affected by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.”



Defending Utah has been consistently against this legislation. We have worked hard to publicize the evil going on behind the scenes of this bill that started in the regular session of the legislature in March of 2019.  Defending Utah covered the special session and the fact that the legislators bragged about how they were just getting started and didn’t care what the voters wanted. It’s a horrible bill and our legislators have exposed their true nature in their actions.



The enemies of freedom know people will oppose them so they regularly set up false opposition movements because they work so well. By getting their opponents to join these movements, they ensure nothing is done to thwart their long-term efforts. We have written and reported on this extensively. Please check out those reports for more details. I do not enjoy reminding people about this fact. It saddens me to see so many good patriots work so hard, just for their efforts to be so callously wasted by these evil individuals. This controlled movement, supposedly against the tax bait and switch, is no different.

1.    We are a Republic NOT a Democracy.

States have been refused entrance into the Union because their constitutions allowed for initiatives in violation of article IV of the US Constitution.

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government” Article IV, Section IV US Constitution

Utah did not allow for it until the early 1900’s because of this principle. Your rights are NOT subject to the whims of anybody, especially the whims of the masses. One Utah founding father, John Taylor explained,

’Vox populi, vox diaboli’ would more truthfully express it; that is, the voice of the people is the voice of the devil. The latter would more generally express the feelings of any people who are under a corrupt government or religion
– John Taylor, JoD 11:346

The other article in the constitution that prohibits the referendum and initiative process is article VI.

Clause  3.  The  Senators  and  Representatives  before  mentioned,  and  the  Members  of  the  several  State  Legislatures,  and all  executive  and  judicial  Officers,  both  of  the  United  States and  of  the  several  States,  shall  be  bound  by  Oath  or  Affirmation,  to  support  this  Constitution

If we’re giving power to the masses to act as a state legislator in violation of article IV, every signer & voter that has not made an oath of office is acting in violation of the US constitution. And IF they have made an oath of office, by signing the referendum they are showing their oath means nothing to them.

Article IV & VI of the US Constitution means you cannot support both the US Constitution AND the referendum/initiative process.


2.    Deception is being used to get good people to spend valuable time and resources on this referendum.

One of the talking point materials for the referendum asks the question, “Can’t legislators just ignore this like they did with prop 2?” Great question! However, referendum organizers answer the question both inaccurately and accurately, creating a false understanding among those they are trying to recruit for their efforts. They say, “No. Initiatives like prop 2 are not binding. Referendums, however, are binding. If the people vote to repeal this tax plan, it will be as if the governor himself repealed it.”

To understand why this is deceptive, we have to break down what is an initiative and what is a referendum. Article VI Section 1 of the Utah Constitution gives the legislative power to the Senate, the House and the people. The legislative power given to the people of Utah is through the initiative and referendum process. An initiative is a new set of code, that, if 50% +1 of voters (not residents) vote yes, becomes law. A referendum is the repealing of a law, that, if 50% +1 of voters vote to repeal a law, the law is repealed.

However, no legislature is bound by a previous legislature. If the House and Senate pass new legislation, a future House and Senate can repeal that law. If the people pass an initiative, the legislature OR the people can pass a law or referendum repealing it. Neither the initiative nor the referendum is a constitutional amendment binding future legislators or voters to keeping that law. What does that mean for this referendum? -IF- these hard working but misguided patriots get enough signatures in each county, and -IF- the referendum gets 50%+1 support, the legislature can call a special session, or wait for the general, and pass the same or worse legislation that was removed by the referendum, just as they did with prop 2 in 2019 and the proposition banning civil asset forfeiture in 2001. Legislation, initiatives, and referendums are all “binding” until another legislative body meets to change it. To say the legislature cannot undo all of this hard work is inaccurate at best, likely though, to be intentionally deceptive.

Lastly, the governor can’t “repeal” legislation, he can only veto it. Those vetoes can be overcome by the legislature or the people.

3.    Highly out of character media coverage for liberty.

Why do you think the mainstream media, both locally and nationally, are giving this referendum coverage? Again, please watch our video on false opposition  for more details. But to summarize from the video, the media sees coverage as free advertising for a cause even if it is shown in a negative light. The media ignores who they don’t want to promote. P.T. Barnum explained the concept perfectly when he said, “I don’t care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right.” Or, in today’s world, “As long as you reference my Facebook page or website.”

4.    Lots of flip flopping happening.

Some legislators, organizations, lobbyists, activists and political insiders that are usually not for low taxes and limited government (Jon Huntsman for example) are supporting this referendum. If we ask ourselves the question “Why are they suddenly changing their views?”, it might help us not fall for programs specifically designed to get people wasting their time and money.  Or strategies set up by the enemies of freedom to get people out of the freedom battle because they feel that nothing they do ever works. Let’s start asking ourselves more often in politics, “Why?”

5.    Understand the timing.

The legislature has assured us they will be expanding on SB2001 during the upcoming legislative session that runs for 45 days, from January to February. The referendum wouldn’t be on the ballot until November when SB2001 wont even technically be the code any longer. Any slight change in code (such as this Utah constitutional amendment taking away your right to exclusively use home or private school) during the Jan-March session would make the referendum null since the legislation the referendum refers to is no longer where it was when SB2001 was passed. New expanded taxes and regulations wouldn’t be touched by this referendum, which could force the legislature into a special session to restore what the referendum attempted to overturn.  That is, if the new code in the regular session didn’t already give them everything they wanted anyway.  The principle here is that it’s very easy to make all the work of the referendum null and void in a variety of ways.


One supporter of the referendum commented that they can’t just give up, and we agree. However, with such precious resources of time and money, we must not waste them on programs designed to fail in the long run (even if there may be the appearance of short term victory).

One issue is we are not identifying a key underlying issue: the public’s overall political philosophy in “both parties” is immoral and supports big government programs of varying types, coveting the property (money) of others and using their agent, the government, to steal those coveted goods from those to whom they rightfully belong.  Other than the very limited uses that should fall within the proper role of government, this is immoral group think.

As we saw in the last election, the voters in Utah (both republican and democrat) want Obamacare expanded, they just don’t want to pay for it themselves.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Hacking at branches leads to quickly changing the way something looks, but it does nothing to change the nature of what is being hacked at. Hacking at the root takes long, hard work that isn’t usually seen by the casual onlooker but is the only way to actually remove the tree. Liberty work is a lot like this.



Defending Utah has had many large and small successes that you likely don’t know about because the media will not cover it and our work is striking at the root instead of the easily viewable branches. We invite you to come learn about a variety of other options and to help us with the long-term work that will lead to a solid foundation of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

To those of you who will still help with this referendum, we wish you the best of luck. However, please remember when you look back at what we have shared with you here, please come to us and show us that we were wrong, or (what we believe to be more likely) right. And if we were right, then please join with us in our efforts to restore liberty free from the distractions of false patriots with false solutions.

We must strike at the root and restore a culture of liberty.

We must be recruiting good delegates and candidates that will replace the legislature before the general election.

We must follow the steps of the founders outlined here

On March 23rd, 1775, Patrick Henry said “Give me Liberty or Give me Death”.

What if Patrick Henry were alive today?

I wonder if he would say “Do not comply. Do not collect. Shop and support those businesses”



– Sources linked throughout the article

Our “False opposition” report:

tax referendum org dishonest meme.jpg (43.44 kb)




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Defending Utah Radio/TV

May 10th - Constitution Bootcamp

Article 5 - Breaking down what it says, and when we should ACTUALLY use it. Learn it, to defend it.

Religious Exemptions

Non-denominational liberty and health ministry. Create an account and download your verifiable religious exemption for free today.

Join Our Email List

Receive notifications about new posts.

Get Involved

Defending Utah is the leading local organization working to educate citizens on the principles of liberty and expose those conspiring to take away your freedom. We do this through original investigative reports, organizing to hold elected officials accountable, and public citizen events.

Prophets & The Constitution (Watch Free Online)

A film that is helping Latter-day Saints better understand & implement principles of good government.

Recent Posts

Liberty Bootcamp

Liberty Bootcamp is a free seven class liberty training created by Defending Utah.

Topics include the Constitution, principles of freedom, the Kingdom of God, the international and Utah conspiracy, and how you can take action (solutions).

Fight Tyranny
Join Our Email List

Receive notifications about upcoming events, action items, and new publications.