Against The Our Schools Now Initiative

By Ian Rudd, Utah County Constitution Party Chair

There are several reasons to be against this petition initiative-

  1. It raises taxes. It is bad enough that it increases income tax and sales tax rates. What is worse is it will
    be especially hard on middle class and lower class families. It will be felt by those on fixed and tight
    incomes including retirees. It will be an added burden on families with many children.
  2. It will not make a difference in results. There is no evidence that more money equates to better
    outcomes. In fact, Utah is already doing better than many areas in the country (New York and
    Washington DC specifically) that spend a LOT more than Utah.
  3. The initiative sponsors are wanting to raise an additional $700 million. The 2017 Utah Legislature
    allocated an additional $750 million WITHOUT raising taxes. Despite this, the initiative sponsors have
    refused to rescind their petition drive.
  4. Other numbers to consider- Education in Utah currently receives 100% of income taxes collected
    (personal and corporate). Education receives at least 50% of sales tax revenue. In the Nebo School
    District where I live, the district will receive more than 70% my property tax assessment. Including
    School Trust Lands and private donations Education has many streams of income and yet it is not
  5. The initiative sponsors have put forward their plan to distribute funds. However, control of funds is in
    the hands of the school boards. Disbursement of funds is predicated on the individual schools
    submitting their own plans to be approved by the school boards. In the end, control of funds is still in
    the hands of the school boards. Nor is there any guarantee individual schools will see any of the
    additional funds at all.
  6. No matter how much taxes are raised it will NEVER be enough.

These are only a few reasons the initiative, while well-intentioned, will be ineffective.
We keep hearing about teacher salaries and lack of supplies. If the school boards and UEA truly care
about the classroom as they say, then these areas will be the priority in budgeting. Until this happens
they are not working hard enough for our children and teachers.

The burden should no longer be heaped upon the shoulders of the taxpayers, but with the school boards
and the UEA. The Legislature has done their job to find additional funding each year. Taxpayer revenues
are rising as more companies move into the state adding jobs, salaries and private spending across the

Take the pressure off the taxpayers and put the pressure on the school boards and UEA to do a better
job allocating funds.