Campaign launched against Our Schools Now initiative

SALT LAKE CITY — Americans for Prosperity Utah launched a campaign Thursday against the Our Schools Now ballot initiative that would raise taxes by more than $700 million to boost education funding.

“Our kids are getting a great education for the money we’re already spending,” said Evelyn Everton, state director for the Utah chapter of the main political advocacy group for the Koch brothers, wealthy conservatives who back free market causes.

Flanked by a group that included lawmakers, retirees and parents opposed to the initiative seeking a spot on the 2018 general election ballot, Everton said “blindly throwing money at a supposed problem is never the answer.”

She also said the initiative, which would raise the state income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.45 percent and state sales tax rate from 4.7 percnet to 5.15 percent, would hurt Utah’s standing as a top place to do business.

“There’s a reason why this isn’t being done in the Legislature. It’s because they understand that low taxes is what’s important for continuing this great economic growth,” Everton said.

Rep. Justin Fawson, R-North Ogden, who serves on the Legislature’s Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said he didn’t “know of any other organization that measures success by the level of spending.”

Fawson said he “strongly supports our teachers and I do feel like we could do more.” Still, he said, the state is making strides to improve education funding such as last session’s 4 percent increase in weighted, per-pupil spending.

Fawson was joined at the news conference by Reps. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, and Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield. Coleman expressed concern about the initiative providing money for higher education despite “out-of-control” cost increases.

Retiree Ed Reott said the tax increase, estimated to be about $400 for an average family, would hit Utahns on fixed incomes especially hard.

“My slice of the pie isn’t growing,” …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

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