Our "Political Insiders" and readers don't think there's much of a chance that the legislature will pass a proposed 1% hike in the personal income tax rate to give more money to schools.
Rep. Jack Draxler (R-Logan) says bumping the personal income tax rate from 5.1% to 6.1% would provide about $400 million extra annually for Utah's public schools.
If our "Political Insiders" and readers are to be believed, that idea is pretty much DOA. A whopping 96% of Republicans on our panel, along with 92% of Democrats and 91% of our readers think it's unlikely the proposal will win approval during the 2015 session.
Selected anonymous comments:
"Will not pass, no matter how much it needs to be passed."
"Stop the prison move and use that money on schools. Then there will less need for prisons."
"Who wants a bunch of critical thinkers, much less at the expense of people who've already made it?"
"Not likely, but very needed."
"It's much more likely that the legislature will raise the gas tax (while pretending the change is revenue-neutral), freeing more general fund money for higher ed, which will then provide more money for K-12 ed. What a shell-game! But, more money for public education, and the legislature can pretend they didn't raise taxes. Win-win."
"Increasing revenues from the gasoline sales will be a higher priority and there's not the appetite or political will to raise additional taxes."
"Although likely, this isn't fair. We need to divorce ourselves of the welfare mentality and start paying for our own kids. It isn't right that large families pay next to nothing in taxes for education while childless and small families foot the bill."
"I don't believe our Republican Legislators will approve a tax increase although our schools definitely need the revenue. They are afraid to do what the majority of citizens want and students need."
"Education is simply not a priority with this legislature. Sad really."
"I wish they would approve it, but this body of procrastinators will kick the can down the road for some other group of legislators to handle when the problem gets even worse."
"Utah's legislature, especially the far-right wing of the Republican party, supports education quite vocally – up until the time they actually have to DO something to demonstrate their fervor financially."
"Everyone on the Hill says they are for education, but their true colors come out when it comes time to show it. Simply put, they are just too cheap to do the right thing."
"More taxes is not the answer. Better use of the monies going to education is the answer. The question is why are we not tracking the use of the dollars better? I am betting a lot of the money does not trickle down to the class room."
"While the passage of the bill is unlikely, good for Rep. Draxler for forcing the conversation. The effective tax rate is well below the 5% flat rate."
"If Draxler wants $400 million for schools, he should probably consider paying for it out of his own pocket, rather than robbing hardworking Utahns for a system that does not have true transparency. Personally, I will never support additional money for education until we bring in better transparency and can truly account for money already spent there. Transparency first, then eliminate waste, then and only then, taking money out of the pockets of Utahns."
"These tax and spend fools who call themselves Republican are just trying to find ways to tax instead of cutting and making things more efficient."
"Utahns love their schools, but they love low taxes even more. They will not ultimately be willing to move the location of their money to the location of their mouths."
"You're kidding? Has Hell frozen over?"
"As long as the Legislature is elected by the GOP delegates, there are a lot of important ideas that won't get any serious debate."
"They talk about supporting education but aren't willing to do anything to increase revenue. If you could figure how to make it discriminatory against gay people, they'd be all over it."