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Survey Shows Utahns Favor Tax Hike for Education

Most Utah voters are willing to raise taxes to pay for public education. That’s according to an annual study gathered by Dan Jones and Associates, the University of Utah Center for Public Policy and Administration and The Exoro group.

Echoing the results of last year’s survey, 70 percent of Utahns who participated this year ranked education as “very important,’ compared to 50 percent for the next highest priority; economic development. Some specific priorities include career readiness for Utah’s high school students and 3rd grade literacy. Jennifer Robinson is director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration. She added, 55 percent of voters surveyed say they would support increasing Utah’s income tax rate, with an understanding that the money will be devoted to public education.

“We think that those numbers are really, really positive," Robinson said. "And it just feeds back to what we saw in earlier part of the survey that education is the number one priority Utahns have for the upcoming session.”

Utah residents currently pay a flat income tax rate of 5 percent.

The report also shows more than half of those surveyed oppose raising the gas tax. While slightly more than half favored an increase in the state sales tax and restoring the sales tax on food.

 “What we’re seeing is, no one likes taxes," Robinson said. "But there is a willingness in some cases to see some changes in our tax rates.”

Dan Jones and Associates randomly selected 537 registered Utah voters to participate in the policy survey earlier this month. It’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 ½ percent.

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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