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Proposed amendment to remove the income tax earmark for education won't go forward

Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 18:54:27-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed constitutional amendment removing the earmark for education on the income tax will not go forward this year.

Senate Majority Whip Ann Millner, R-Ogden, confirmed to reporters on Thursday that she has opted to wait to pursue it.

"When we do this we want to be right so we’ll go to work on it after the session," she said, adding: "We have a responsibility to look at all the priorities and make sure we fund the highest priorities. At the same time, we know for all of us, all of our constituents, public education is critically important. We want to make sure we get this right so everybody gets this."

The idea floated by legislative leadership would have removed the earmark for education on the income tax. Supporters had argued the volatility of the income tax versus sales tax in overall state budgeting made it necessary. But voters had already approved a tweak to give lawmakers more control, shifting some social services to the income tax fund.

Because the earmark is in the state constitution, voters would need to approve any change to it.

Education groups had raised some concerns. In a statement to FOX 13 News, Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews was glad to see the idea delayed.

"The best budget decisions are made with thoughtful deliberation and input. We appreciate the legislature recognizing the final days of the legislative session do not provide sufficient time to accomplish a constitutional change of the magnitude proposed," she said. "We look forward to continued conversations with legislators to ensure sustainable and growing long-term revenue to support the academic success of all Utah students."