SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utahns rejected a proposal to use an increase in the gas tax to help fund education.
Non-binding Question 1 asked voters if they would support a 10-cent increase to the gas tax to raise money to go directly to schools and teachers.
The ballot question is the result of a compromise between lawmakers the group Our Schools Now to increase funding by more than $100,000,000 a year.
As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, 66 percent of Utahns voted against the question versus 34 percent who voted in favor.
After Tuesday’s election and vote on Question 1, Nolan Karras, member of the Our Schools Now Executive Committee issued the following statement:
“We regret we weren’t successful tonight. The complexity of using a gas tax to offset money being taken from the general fund — from education and to transportation — was an issue we never got beyond. Immediately following the compromise during the last legislative session our support considerably decreased.
However, in the process of the campaign we built the strongest political organization for the promotion of public education in the history of the state. Our supporters aren’t going anywhere. There will continue to be a strong voice for improving funding for education.
While the gas tax wasn’t successful tonight, voters across the state decided
to increase funding for education through successful bond elections. We must turn the emphasis from investing in new buildings to investing in our teachers.
We particularly want to thank Governor Herbert and legislative leadership for their support of education and for putting Question 1 on the ballot. They have each been tireless in their support for education and have been successful in securing previous funding increases. We look forward to working with them to find alternatives to the gas tax to continue with those past successes.
Our goal remains to raise per-pupil spending on an inflation-adjusted basis by over $1000 per student. The new money should be under local control to support teachers and improve student proficiencies across all grades.”