The United Utah Party has announced its opposition to the proposed amendment numbered G on the general election ballot. The amendment would allow the legislature to use income tax revenue for two other purposes than public education – children and people with disabilities. Currently, the state constitution mandates that all income tax revenues be used for public education.
“This change sounds innocuous, but it is not,” said Richard Davis, UUP Chair. “This amendment is not intended to provide funding for people with disabilities or children. The legislature can do that already. Rather, it is designed to allow the legislature to begin to take money away from public education.”
Davis explained that sponsors of the amendment originally wanted to remove altogether the constitutional mandate that protected public education funding. But when they could not get their real objective through the legislature, they proposed this amendment. He also noted that the last time an amendment drew money away from K-12 education it harmed public education. In 1996, an amendment passed that allocated income tax revenues to higher education as well as K-12.
“Before that, our state was not the worst in student-teacher ratio. Now we are. Nor was our spending on education nearly half the national average, which it is now. And Utah was 23rd in the nation in the percent of the state’s GDP spent on K-12. Today, we are 10th from the bottom. Clearly, taking money away from public education doesn’t make things better. Once again, passing this kind of amendment will only make things worse.”
The United Utah Party urges voters to reject Amendment G to protect public education spending. “Citizens want more resources for public education. Amendment G takes us in the opposite direction,” Davis said.