Dear UEA member:
Lawmakers are proposing a change to the Utah Constitution that would eliminate the constitutional requirement that all state income tax revenue “shall be used” for K-12 education, higher education, children, and individuals with a disability. We are asking for your views on this important issue.
Last year, the Utah Legislature convened a group of education stakeholders, including UEA, to discuss the state budget. Legislators are concerned that income tax revenue is growing faster than sales tax revenue. Currently, the Utah Constitution must use state income tax only for K-12 education, higher education, children, and individuals with a disability. Sales tax is used for all other state spending.
The constitutional guarantee that income tax be used for education has been in place for more than 75 years and UEA believes it demonstrates a clear mandate that education funding be prioritized.
Over months of discussion, legislators have proposed different ways to create flexibility in their use of income tax and sales tax, as well as language changes to the constitution and possible ways to guarantee funding for education in either the constitution or state code. UEA has participated in these discussions to see if it is possible to create better guarantees for education funding.
At this point, there is no final proposal for UEA to consider. However, we are seeking member input to better understand how we can represent educator concerns in this process. Our goal is to ensure that education funding is prioritized, protected and adequate through both constitutional language and statutory guarantees. Do you think education funding would improve if the constitutional mandate was modified and the legislature had more flexibility or do you have concerns about making any such change?
Please reach out to your local association president or UEA Board member by Thursday, February 23 to share your thoughts about how education funding can be improved and what guarantees must be in place to ensure funding for generations to come. Thank you for your dedication to the education profession and Utah students.
President, Utah Education Association