State legislators heard the case Thursday from education advocates who could put an income tax hike on the ballot in 2018.
Former Utah House Speaker Nolan Karras helped present the case for the Our Schools Now initiative before the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. He admitted that the Our Schools Now organization would rather work with the Legislature now than put their proposal on a ballot.
“We hope we can lead them there with a campaign that we intend to push forward through 2018. We’re happy to work with the Legislature. I’ve said in several settings, including in the halls here, that we’d rather work with the Legislature. We really would rather have it done surgically,” Karras said. “It can be done in a much better way. We’re finding in trying to do an initiative, you have to be very general. It has to be in a certain way just because it is going to be on the ballot. You can’t be as specific maybe as you’d like to be in terms of what spending would be.”
Members of the subcommittee expressed concerns over raising the state income tax to provide more money for schools, something that Our Schools Now wants.
According to Our Schools Now, 84 percent of the money raised with the income tax hike would go to K-12 education. Higher education and applied technology colleges would receive the rest of the 16 percent left over.