Senate Bill Would Phase Out Tax Credits, Fund Education

Jan 28, 2014

Credit Utah Public Radio

Gov. Gary Herbert's proposed education budget for the next fiscal year is more than $5 billion, but some Utah legislators want to take it a step further.

Sen. Patricia Jones, (D-Salt Lake County), is the sponsor of Senate Bill 118, which would gradually phase out tax exemptions for families with children over a five-year period. Using the extra income generated from this, SB 118 would set up a funding plan that allocates the money to public schools for use on school improvement plans.

Speaking just outside the Senate chambers in the state capitol, Jones highlighted what the money could be used for.

"You can use that money to hire new teachers, to hire reading specialists or math specialists or school counselors, for teacher bonuses, for all kinds of different issues,  different things that every school needs," she said.

The bill would eventually bring in $475 million per year, which would go to every K-12 school in Utah, coming out to about $1 million per high school, $700,000 per middle school and $400,000 per elementary school, Jones said.

SB 118 has supporters, and Jones said other legislators were "intrigued" by the bill. SB 118 has been introduced and went through its first reading in the Senate Rules Committee on Monday.