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UEA leader labels plan to make it easier to raise property taxes ‘wrong for Utah’

SALT LAKE CITY — A new school funding plan being quietly negotiated by state lawmakers that largely relies on local property taxes is struggling to find support in time to be considered in a special session of the Utah Legislature and already has some educators gearing up for a fight.

“The overall tax proposal, plus the education piece, cuts hundreds of millions of dollars from our schools. That’s not good for kids. It’s wrong for our teachers. It’s wrong for our schools. It’s wrong for our students and it’s wrong for Utah,” Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews said Thursday.

She said teachers are planning a show of force at the Legislature’s next Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force meeting on Monday, where members are set to consider the latest draft of the plan to lower state income taxes that go to education while raising sales taxes on food, gas and some services.

GOP legislative leaders want that plan to go to a special session in early December, so the income tax cut is in place at the start of the new year. But the rest of the tax reform package — removing the restriction from the Utah Constitution on how income taxes are spent and coming up with a new funding plan for schools — may have to wait.

“I think it’s having a tough time,” Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said of the school funding plan. He said the goal is to identify new revenues for schools acceptable to educators and “in return, to try to find support for removing the constitutional amendment” that must be approved by voters.

“Right now, we’re still in the negotiating process. It’s been, I think, a …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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