On the last day to submit signatures to file a ballot initiative for the November election, Gov. Herbert ceremonially signed H.B. 491, paving the way for a ballot question with the potential to bring significant levels of new investment in public education to head to voters this November.
In November, voters will be asked to vote on a question that would increase the state gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon, sending more funding to the public education system. Legislative estimates calculate that this ballot question would send $125 million to public education in the first full year of its implementation.
In recognition of the collaboration, Our Schools Now sent a letter to Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox officially withdrawing the Our Schools Now citizens’ initiative petition, and agreed to stop pursuing their Teacher and Student Success Act. This withdrawal letter is attached.
Gov. Herbert voiced support for the ballot question, and praised the collaborative spirit of the legislature and Our Schools Now initiative.
“I believe that the people of Utah want to invest more into education. And I believe that the people of Utah believe that they should pay their fair share,” Gov. Herbert said. “Today we are celebrating a remarkable collaboration between the Our Schools Now initiative and our state legislature. In typical Utah fashion, they came together this session in search of solutions on a topic we all care about -- and together, they found an answer that provides a win for everyone involved.”
Gail Miller and Scott Anderson, co-chairs of Our Schools Now, are excited about the compromise.
"Utah families hold high expectations for the future of our state, none of which can be reached without a greater commitment to education, said Gail Miller. “This is the year to invest in our local schools to bring sufficient resources to teachers and high-quality learning opportunities to students. A small increase at the gas pump for local schools is a much-needed investment that will bring an outstanding return to the Utah taxpayer, and I strongly encourage Utahns to join us in supporting Utah’s teachers and students."
“Our Schools Now is pleased to join with Governor Herbert, members of the Legislature, and many community leaders to support a joint-plan to significantly invest in the future of our children and of our state,” said Scott Anderson. “With adequate funding levels that produce excellent education for Utah children, the future of Utah will remain strong for many generations. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Governor and the Legislature to ensure voters appreciate the needs of our students, as well as the positive impacts additional investments in education have on Utah families, local communities and the economy.”
The text to H.B. 491 can be read here.