SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Down on the very bottom of the Utah ballot, voters will find a list of proposed constitutional amendments, and the last item on the list: Amendment G. Amendment G proposes a significant change to how education is funded in the Beehive State and could mean more money in the long term.
Currently, 100% of Utah income tax is earmarked for education. The amendment proposes income tax now be used for both education and “children and individuals with a disability”.
On the long list of supporters for this item, is the Utah Taxpayers Association. Vice President Rusty Cannon explained, “Utah is the only state in the nation with a constitutional earmark for one of its taxes, in this case the income tax.”
Cannon says expanding the constitutional earmark gives the legislature more flexibility when creating our budget.
But why pair education funding and funding for those with a disability?
“It’s a critical area of the budget that’s growing really really fast,” Cannon said.
Also growing fast, our income tax revenue. Utah income tax has nearly doubled in the last eight years and Cannon says the legislature expects that growth to pick right back up following COVID-19 recovery.
This decision doesn’t just split the income tax pot, it comes with a guarantee for more education funding from other places.
“If it passes, it will kick in HB 357 and that’s the most important part,” Cannon said.
HB 357 is a bill that’s already passed, it goes into effect January first if Utah votes yes on G. HB 357 gives education guaranteed increases to their budget based on inflation, a guaranteed savings account, and first dibs essentially on income tax growth.
Cannon called it, “A very good deal for education funding.” A deal that education advocates may not be able to beat or replicate until well past financial recovery following COVD-19.
Educators across the state are behind Amendment G, they’re all listed in your voter information guide. Groups like the State Board of Education, the Utah Educators Association, and the State PTA all support Amendment G.
Now it’s your turn to make the deciding vote.