November 1, 2021


by: admin


Tags: budget, education, Poll, spent, surplus, Utahs


Categories: Special needs education

Utah’s finances surplus ought to be spent on schooling, ballot says

More than a third of Utahners say education should be the number one priority of Utah legislation for an expected budget surplus, according to a new poll conducted for the Deseret News / Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Support for education was strongest among those aged 25 to 56, presumably because they were more likely to have school-age children.

Meanwhile, 27% of respondents named a tax cut a priority, according to the results of a poll of 746 registered voters conducted October 14-21 by the public polling firm Dan Jones & Associates. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.54 percentage points for the entire sample.

A tax cut found greater support among people aged 18 to 24 and those aged 57 and over, according to the survey results.

Moe Hickey, CEO of the children’s charity Voices for Utah Children, said it was good news that just over a third of respondents favor investing more in education over other priorities.

“We believe that continued investment in education, including preschool and optional advanced kindergarten, is a wise use of excess funds. We are against a tax cut at a time when we as a state have so many unmet needs. Recently, both the Utah State Tax Commission and the Utah Foundation published research showing that taxes in Utah are the lowest in 30 to 50 years after repeated rounds of tax cuts, “Hickey said.

Lawmakers must allocate sufficient resources to ensure that Utah children “receive world-class education and health care and special assistance for the children most in need. If we have to apply tax policy, we advocate looking at vehicles like the child tax credit and the income tax break to help those most in need, ”he said.

The survey results suggest that funding is being devoted to infrastructure that ranks higher in order to devote more to social services. 17 percent of those surveyed chose infrastructure finance, while only 12 percent identified social services.

Julie Stewart, associate professor at Westminster College’s Honor College, said the amount of education funding goes hand in hand with the well-being of a population.

“Whether it’s spending on early childhood education or spending on the K-6 system, in my opinion, if we don’t prioritize those expenditures, we’re really going to be short,” she said.

Education spending “is literally investing in people who will be your citizens, your workers and your caregivers for future generations,” said Stewart.

As for tax liability, Utah residents don’t bear the same tax burden as residents of many other states, she said.

“Our overall tax rates are extremely low compared to other states,” said Stewart.

“Anyone who feels that their tax liability in this state is too high should definitely get around more.”

People who identified education, social services and infrastructure as areas where more funding might be needed “may have a better sense of our needs,” she said.

Party support for a tax cut was significantly higher among Republicans at 31% than among Democrats at 3%.

The opposite was true when more funding went to education, with 47% of respondents saying they were Democrats who supported more education funding, compared with 33% of Republicans.

Of those who described themselves as “very conservative”, 47% were in favor of a tax cut, and of those who described themselves as “very liberal”, 60% supported spending the surplus on education.

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, said she was disappointed that social services were seen as less important than infrastructure, especially given the challenges facing so many Utahners exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

People who have to and want to work have been sidelined by a lack of quality and affordable childcare, she said. Childcare wages have historically lagged behind other jobs. It has become increasingly difficult to fill childcare centers as other companies have started offering workers $ 15-17 an hour as a starting wage to address the labor shortage.

Moss said she was “on the other end of the spectrum in my life,” with a 96-year-old mother who is in memory maintenance at an assisted living facility.

Many of the staff at the facility are young; some of them were trained as qualified nursing assistants while they were still in school.

“There is a lot of fluctuation. It is absolutely essential that they (facilities) have these helpers. I mean my mom can’t walk or take care of herself. They do hard work and are really nice to the older people, ”said Moss.

Moss, a retired school teacher, said she was pleased that more than a third of respondents viewed more funding for education as a priority, despite wishing for more support.

“I’m happy about that. That’s really good, ”said Moss.

“I wish it was more than 40%.”


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