SALT LAKE CITY – Amendment G, which would change how income taxes in Utah are used, is holding a steady lead in votes.
For decades, Utah has only allowed income taxes to be used for education. If passed, Amendment G would let that money also be used to fund programs for children and the disabled.
It would also trigger House Bill 357, a piece of legislation passed earlier this year creating a public education stabilization fund to protect that money during economic downturns.
As part of the bill, lawmakers would have to fund student enrollment growth, and that money would have to keep pace with inflation each year. A minimum of 10% of all new income tax revenue would also go toward increasing per student spending over the next few years.
State Senator Ann Millner (R-Ogden), who brokered the deal with education leaders to get Amendment G on the ballot, feels it would be a win for education in a growing state.
“What you really need is a funding framework,” Millner says. “Income tax is the most volatile source of revenue. It goes up in good times, but then we have to cut it in bad times.”
She believes Amendment G solves that problem for Utah.
“This is a way to build a foundational funding framework that we can count on year after year after year,” Miller says.
However, groups that advocate for more funding for social programs have been critical of Amendment G.
They question where Utah lawmakers will find the extra money for education.
They have also been skeptical of the legislature keeping its promises after big cuts were made to education in 2008.
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