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Thu Dec 15, 2016, 09:39 AM

Utah lawmakers feel compelled to respond to push for education tax hike

Utah lawmakers are being forced to take a serious look at Utah school funding after the state's most prominent business leaders announced their support for a ballot initiative that would raise income taxes and generate $750 million in new revenue for Utah's poorly funded education system.

Legislators are already making plans to hold hearings on the issue, fearful that they could lose control of how the money is spent if it goes to the ballot and suffers an embarrassing rebuke from voters if they don't act.

"The complaint I'm hearing from these people is, 'We go to the Legislature and they ignore us,' so we don't want to ignore them," said Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, co-chairman of the public education budget committee in the upcoming session.

Nolan Karras, chairman of the group Education First, which is working with Utah Schools Now on the tax-hike initiative, said that as a former House speaker, he is open to hashing out the issue with legislators, rather than going to voters.

Read more: www.sltrib.com/news/4713983-155/utah-lawmakers-feel-compelled-to-respond

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