These two bills are tied to each other and tied to your vote in November because they recommend a change to Utah’s constitution.
Senate Joint Resolution 9 would allow income tax funds to be used for “children and individuals with a disability” along with education, meaning your income tax dollars could be used to fund programs like Children’s Justice Centers, CHIP, Child Protective Services, and many more.
Bill sponsor Sen. Daniel McCay explained, “SJR 9 really takes this tax question and budget question to the people. If the people are happy to help us balance the budget his way, we are happy to do it this way; if not we’ll find something else. We are more involved in a child’s life than just a K-12 education; SJR 9 expands what we can spend income tax on.”
If Utah voters decide that’s a good idea, House Bill 357 would also go into effect; it’s a funding pipeline bill that expands education dollars by statute and includes future inflation.
Some educators are wary of this combination of bills and worry that opening education funding to people with disabilities will have unintended consequences, but the Utah PTA says they’re on-board.
Communications Director Amy Choate-Nielsen said, “There’s always that fear that if you open the door a little bit, it could go somewhere you don’t want it to go, but it also gives guarantees that have never been had before and we are choosing to support those and believe that it’s important for education to have that statutory funding in place.”
Both bills passed out of a committee today and each need a final vote before going to the governor’s desk and your ballot.
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