- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah leaders repealed a tax reform package Tuesday that had come under widespread criticism.

The Legislature approved and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed the repeal shortly after state elections officials reported that enough voter signatures had been verified to put a citizens referendum seeking to repeal the tax reform on the November ballot, the Deseret News reported.

The House voted 70-1 and the Senate voted 27-0 on the repeal bill sponsored by Republican House Majority Leader Francis Gibson. Herbert signed it soon after.

The tax reform package included reducing income taxes while raising sales taxes on food, gas and some services. Gibson acknowledged that many residents opposed the move.

More than 117,000 verified referendum signatures were published, surpassing the required amount by about 1,000, officials said.

More than 152,000 signatures were turned in statewide by the Jan. 21 deadline, said former Republican lawmaker Fred Cox, who organized the referendum.

It’s not clear about what happens when a law is repealed at this point in the referendum process, state Elections Director Justin Lee said. The lieutenant governor’s office, which oversees elections, is asking lawmakers for guidance on the next step, he said.

The tax reform was subject to a referendum because it failed to receive a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, officials said.

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