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Legislature Passes Bill To Replace "Our Schools Now" Initiative

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Austin Diamond/KUER
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The Utah Legislature passed a last-minute deal to let voters decide on a gas tax hike. The 10-cents-per-gallon increase would funnel additional money into education and roads.

Rep. Becky Edward’s bill is a compromise between state lawmakers and leaders of the Our Schools Now initiative. The group had hoped to raise almost $700 million for schools through a combination of sales and income tax increases. The compromise would provide about half of that. Rep. Mike Winder voted for the bill.

“I think we have an opportunity here to stop in its tracks, potentially the largest tax increase in the state of Utah’s history with the $700 million Our Schools Now initiative,” Winder said. “I also think on the other hand we have an opportunity to provide record funding for education, both K-12 and higher ed that’s sorely needed.”

The bill still has to be signed by the governor.

Our Schools Now supporters gathered enough signatures to put their measure on the November 2018 ballot. Republican lawmakers promised to cut Utah’s tax rates back if voters approve it.

 

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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