Our “Political Insiders” say education funding will be the biggest issue during the 2017 Utah Legislature that gets underway on Monday.
63% of the Republicans on our panel, along with 64% of the Democrats and 42% of our readers picked school funding as the top issue.
After that, the issues that could take center stage were much more varied.
13% of Republicans picked taxes as the most important issue. 9% said air quality and 6% thought medical marijuana would be the #1 topic. None of the Republicans who responded to our question picked health care.
9% of the Democrats we queried chosen health care and air quality as the top issue.
23% of our readers think air quality will be the biggest issue this year, while 17% said health care.
Curiously, no one who responded to our survey thought water quality would be a big issue during this session.
Selected anonymous comments:
“I’m frustrated with all the bragging about how Utah is the best state for business and has a low unemployment rate, etc., etc., but then we hear that the “budget is very tight, ” and there’s no money for schools, Medicaid and so on. What happens if we hit another recession? If we can’t pay for these things when times are good, we are really in trouble when our economy is struggling!”
“They’ll fight and scrape, and little will change for the teacher in the classroom. If they really wanted to make a difference end many of these insane mandates. The hyper-aggressive nature of the testing regime is driving our teachers away.”
“I chose school funding because the state education system is the most critical in my opinion. The situation is dire when young people choose not to enter the teaching profession or work in state because teachers are so poorly compensated. Air quality comes in a close second in terms of priority.”
“While we have real issues out there all we will hear are the well tested and extremely tired argument that we need more school funding. It will be as if nothing else exists and all out problems could be solved if only we spent more money in the classroom. How about this, legalize marijuana and use the taxes for education. Problem solved.”
“Education is still job one. Success there will influence everything else.”
“The budget is the most important thing the legislature does. Just ask any legislator which committee is the most important. Or where the most time is spent by legislators. It is the big appropriations committee or the management committee. The items listed above are way down the list as far as important.”
“The Education First organization is trying to hold the House and Senate leadership’s feet to the fire on funding. Our House and Senate leaders are backpedaling and cowering in the corner with a ballot initiative looming to lock in a tax increase for education funding. There still is the desire of some members of both houses to “starve the beast.” Our legislative leadership needs to wake up and smell the Postum. No more double talk. It’s time to do right by Utah’s kids. Good grief!!!”
“Can we FINALLY move from dead last in educational support? No more excuses or rationalizations – just DO IT!”
“Taxes need to be lowered, and the expansion of government needs to end.”
“It should be one of these very important subjects. Instead, we will get silly message bills about lands, and Connor Boyack inspired nuttiness aimed at local governments.”
“Utah has thousands of its citizens in need of immediate life-saving health care but don’t have the financial means to pay for it. This includes many single parents and their children, people with mental health and drug dependency issues. It is way past time for our elected officials to do what is morally and ethically right, and pass a comprehensive and affordable health care plan to help cover those who are unable to afford health insurance. Full Medicaid expansion is the right thing to do.”
“The state budget has grown from $14 Billion to $16 Billion over the last several years. Time for a tax cut.”