Gas tax proposal would fund education

A question on the November ballot concerns a proposed gas tax increase. It is a non-binding question, so regardless of how voters choose it does not force the legislature to move ahead. But it is the Utah legislature asking ‘how do you feel about this, should we move ahead?’

On KVNU’s For the People program this past Thursday, Austin Cox of Our Schools Now said this would be a great help for education. He said over the last 20 years funding for education has been significantly decreased. Over the last five or six years his organization has been seeking to invest not in administration or school construction but directly into the classroom.

Cox explained, “our students are struggling. Less than 50 percent of students in Utah are proficient in Math, Science or English Language Arts. Talking about teachers, almost half of teachers in Utah leave the profession within the first five years. And there’s nothing more important inside the classroom than a highly-effective, well-trained teacher.”

He said just before the end of the last legislative session they were approached by lawmakers who showed interest in increasing funding, but proposed doing it through a question: asking if the public would support a 10-cent gas tax increase to increase education funding at the local level. So Cox said his organization is campaigning for what‘s known as ‘Non-Binding Opinion Question 1’.

He said they have the support of Speaker of the House Greg Hughes and Governor Gary Herbert, in addition to business leaders, educators and policy makers. The public can get more information at or look for the organization on Facebook.

AUDIO: Jason Williams interviews Austin Cox of Our Schools Now


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