Utah business leaders will gather signatures to put education funding on ’18 ballot

Dec 2, 2016 by

A group of Utah business leaders is turning to voters to raise funds for public schools.

The Our Schools Now initiative will begin collecting signatures next summer, organizers announced Tuesday, to place the question of an income tax increase on the 2018 ballot.

If successful, Utah’s personal income tax rate would climb from 5 percent to 5.875 percent — a seven-eighths of 1 percent bump — netting roughly $750 million in new annual funding for the state’s K-12 schools, colleges and universities and applied technology campuses.

Nolan Karras, former Utah House Speaker, said Utah students deserve a first-class education and that current funding levels are insufficient.

“Constantly underfunding education has the potential to undermine the foundations of our economy and our society,” he said.

Last year, Utah business-led advocacy groups Prosperity 2020 and Education First urged lawmakers to put a non-binding tax proposal before voters.

Lawmakers did not respond to the non-binding ballot option, which would have polled voters on their interest in a seven-eighths of 1 percent bump in income taxes.

Zions Bank president Scott Anderson said a ballot initiative provides “added emphasis” to the Legislature.

He was optimistic about securing signatures and the public’s support, but added that lawmakers retain the ability to act during the upcoming legislative session.

Source: Utah business leaders will gather signatures to put education funding on ’18 ballot | The Salt Lake Tribune

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