This November, Utah voters will decide on big ballot initiatives like Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana and an independent redistricting commission. But there are a handful of lesser-known ballot questions, too.
Here’s the rundown:
Gas Tax Question
Nonbinding Opinion Question #1 will ask voters if the state should raise the gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon. If approved, it would raise about $100 million to replace money that should go to education, but is currently used for transportation costs.
The question is the result of a deal brokered by lawmakers and Our Schools Now. The group had pushed a ballot initiative that would have raised sales and income taxes to raise more than $700 million for Utah schools. After Our Schools Now agreed to halt its initiative, lawmakers approved a property tax bill that will boost education funding by more than $200 million. They also agreed to put the gas tax question on the November ballot.
If the nonbinding question passes, lawmakers have said they will likely raise the gasoline tax in the 2019 legislative session.
There will also be three constitutional amendment questions on Utah ballots this election cycle.
The least controversial, Constitutional Amendment A, would expand a rule that gives property tax exemptions to active duty military members who are outside the state for a total of 200 days or more out of the year. The rule currently only applies to those who are out of state for 200 or more consecutive days.
A second question would exempt property taxes on private lands that are leased to state and local governments. Supporters say it doesn’t make sense to use tax dollars to pay taxes. Critics call it a government giveaway for certain property owners which would boost taxes for everyone else.
A third constitutional amendment would allow Utah lawmakers to call themselves into special session. Lawmakers held a power struggle of sorts with Gov. Gary Herbert’s office in this year’s legislative session. Herbert does not support the idea of lawmakers calling themselves into session, so they are putting the question before voters.
Follow KUER’s ongoing coverage of the 2018 midterm elections and ballot initiatives.