Hillyard unsure of proposal to raise income taxes for schools

Photo courtesy Utah State Law Library.

As chairman of the Utah legislature’s Public Education Appropriations Committee, State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, says he is well aware that Utah schools need more money. But he joins numerous other lawmakers who believe a proposal from a group called Education First is not the way to get it because it would hurt the state’s economy.

Education First is behind a ballot measure that would raise the income tax by 7/8th of one percent from the rate which is now 5% to increase per-pupil spending.

“Anybody concerned about how much this is I think they ought to look at their income tax last year,” Hillyard exclaims, “and see how much they paid in state income tax, take their monthly check and see how much was withheld for state income (tax), and realize that if this initiative passes their income tax withholdings is going to go up 20%, roughly, and the amount of income tax they’re going to pay is going up 20%.

“That’s a big jump, really a big jump. Really you have to be careful when you do this that it doesn’t cause a dis-incentive.”

Hillyard says he believes that better funding education through local school districts raising property taxes would be a better way to raise money and it would give them more control of the money. He says Education First has proposed that the money go to school councils.

He says the schools would have different uses for the money and he is not sure that is the way school districts should be managed.

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