Committee hears bill to give teachers a tax credit for out-of-pocket expenses – February 4, 2020

Senate Rev and Tax Committee (reported by Jay Blain): SB69: Tax Credit for Educator Expenses would provide a refundable tax credit of up to $1000 for qualifying educator out-of-pocket for school expenses. UEA Director of Research Jay Blain spoke in favor of the bill. He noted that the average in Utah is about $500 per teacher out of pocket. Representatives from the Utah Taxpayers Association and Alliance for a Better Utah also spoke in favor the bill. The bill was held in committee for more work.

Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): SB79: Regional Education Service Agencies changes existing Regional Service Centers to Regional Education Service Agencies, giving them a status similar to districts. For example, they would now be allowed to receive grants and manage programs that currently only flow to districts and charter schools and their employees could participate in the Utah Retirement System. The bill passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB1: Public Education Base Budget Amendments provides the bulk of public education funding for Fiscal Year 2020-21. It allocates more than $5.5 billion, essentially setting the budget the same as the current year. New for this year, this base budget includes just over $50 million for new student enrollment growth, which has been funded separately in the past. HB1 passed the House unanimously and goes to the Senate. The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee will make recommendations to the Executive Appropriations Committee for a final bill to provide any increased public education funding (see How the Public Education Budget is Set).