SALT LAKE CITY — Support is slipping slightly for the nonbinding question on the November ballot about raising state gas taxes by 10 cents a gallon to help fund schools, according to a UtahPolicy.com poll.
Results released Wednesday show 50 percent of Utahns say they back raising the gas tax for education, down from 52 percent in May. Opponents of the increase are up to 47 percent, from 43 percent.
The poll of 809 likely Utah voters was conducted Aug. 22-31 for the online political news source by Dan Jones & Associates and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent points.
“It’s going to be close,” said Austin Cox, campaign manager for Our Schools Now, the group that reached an agreement with lawmakers to drop an initiative that would have raised both sales and income taxes to collect some $700 million.
The non-binding ballot question is part of that agreement, which also included record education spending and a five-year freeze in the state property tax levy that allows additional revenue to be captured as property values rise.
Cox announced Wednesday that Our Schools Now and state leaders have now also agreed on how the additional revenue would be spent. He said a working group has been meeting privately to draft legislation.
The bill, which does not yet have a sponsor, follows much of the formula in the original initiative except for setting aside 5 percent of the new public school funding for teacher retention programs, Cox said.
Eighty percent of the new education funds would go to K-12 schools and the remaining 20 percent of the overall increase in funding would be available to higher education.
A 10-cent hike in the state’s 29.4 cents a gallon gas tax is expected to bring in $180 million in the first full budget year …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Business News