Salt Lake City, Utah- (News4Utah) – A new poll is shedding light on what Utahns think about a proposed ballot initiative to raise taxes for education.
The Our Schools Now initiative would raise more than $700 million to fund public education in Utah. The new Utah Policy poll finds a small majority of Utahns support it.
As a mother and member of the School Community Council at Emerson Elementary, Crystal Young-Otterstrom is concerned about funding levels in our state.
“It’s kind of a shame that Utah is last place in per pupil spending. This is a family friendly state, and we should have the greatest and most funded education system in the country,” said Young-Otterstrom.
That’s why she supports the Our Schools Now ballot initiative.
The initiative calls for a .45% increase to both the income and sales tax.
It would generate about $715 million a year. Of that, 85% would go to K-12, the other 15% to higher education.
“It’s an increase we need. It’s an increase we lost when we went to the flat tax system and our educational system is suffering, because of it and our children are suffering,” said Young-Otterstrom.
The Utah Policy poll shows Utahns slightly favor the proposal.
Of those surveyed, 50% percent say they support it, 48% say they oppose it.
Opponents recently launched a campaign to fight the initiative.
They say it will be a burden on Utah families, costing on average $400 a year.
“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, with Americans for Prosperity Utah.
Our Schools Now organizers say they are well on their way to gathering the signatures needed to get on the ballot. They expect to that have that completed before the April, 2018 deadline.
Our Schools Now is one of five initiatives that could end up on the ballot in 2018.