Just days before the start of the Utah Legislative session, the Utah Democrats seemingly have hit on an issue they think will resonate with the public. Education funding.
“We know people want greater resources for education,” says House Minority Leader Rep. Brian King (D-Salt Lake City). “That’s what the polling tells us over and over again. That’s what my constituents tell me. We’re looking for ways in which to accomplish that.”
Yes, the Democrats talk about school funding almost every year, but this year they are advocating for a change to the mechanism for funding. Originally, all income taxes were mandated constitutionally to pay for public education. In 1996, that was expanded to include higher education as well.
Now, Sen. Jim Dabakis (D-Salt Lake City) wants to roll back that change, and the rest of the Democrats are on board.
“That change ended up reducing the education fund by hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It’s not a little money; it’s a ton of money,” says King.
King says they’re bringing the issue up this year because it’s an election year, and he hopes it plays out on the polls.
“People in Utah have to go to the polls and make their voices heard by voting in people whose priorities reflect their own and voting out people whose priorities don’t. Until that happens, you’re going to continue to see legislators who don’t listen to what the people want.”