Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – Organizers of Our Schools Now hope Utah voters will approve a tax increase to fund public education, but as they work to get the measure on the ballot, others are working to stop it.
State lawmakers, activists and concerned citizens stand united at the Capitol.
Ed Reott is one of them. He is retired, and living on a fixed income.
“My piece of the pie isn’t growing, but the slice of the pie that the state keeps taking is growing,” said Reott.
He is joining forces with Americans for Prosperity Utah to fight the Our Schools Now initiative.
They say it’s misleading and costly.
“Our legislature is doing a great job in allocating the funds to education already. Blindly throwing money at a supposed problem is never the answer, and it’s never been the Utah way,” said Evelyn Everton, AFP Utah State Director.
The initiative calls for a .45% increase to both the income and sales tax.
It would generate about $715 million a year. 85% would go to K-12, the other 15% to higher education.
That’s another area of concern for this group.
“There is a big portion of this that goes to an out of control, out of control, unfettered higher education system,” said Representative Kim Coleman, (R) West Jordan.
AFP Utah says if the initiative passes, it would cost the average Utahn about $400 a year. They say instead of taking more, education should do better with the money it already has.
“We need to cut spending on frivolous, thousand dollar parties, unnecessary, large-scale school buildings and yes, although unpopular, even unnecessary administration jobs in the district,” said Diana Alm, reading from a letter written by her husband, a 5th grade teacher.
Our Schools Now says our state must rise from its last in the nation position for funding public schools.
Campaign Manager Austin Cox issued this statement on the AFP campaign:
“Utahns know better than to let the Koch brothers and other national interest groups tell us how to teach, support and invest in our children and grandchildren. Our Schools Now gives Utahns the opportunity to decide for themselves how important education is to our state – not out-of-state super PACs.”
The AFP campaign will include mailers, door to door efforts and they have launched a website.