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The "Our Schools Now" effort to put a sales and income tax hike to better fund Utah's schools on the 2018 ballot got underway this week. Our "Political Insiders" think they'll get enough signatures to secure a ballot spot, but they mostly say voters will reject the measure.

The OSN ballot initiative seeks to gradually phase in a 0.5% increase in both the state sales and income tax rate over 3 years. That should generate an extra $750 million per year for Utah's school system annually. Utah currently spends the least per student in the nation.

A majority of our "Political Insiders" say OSN should be able to gather the 120,000 signatures it will take to get on the ballot. 84% of the Republicans on our panel, 87% of the Democrats and 58% of our readers think OSN will get enough signatures.

However, most of the Republicans and readers who responded to our survey say the OSN initiative is doomed to failure at the ballot box.

  • 69% of Republicans say OSN will not pass.

  • 65% of our readers think OSN will fail at the polls.

  • 70% of the Democrats who responded think OSN will be approved by voters.

 

Selected anonymous comments:

There is a big difference between saying "yes" to raising taxes on a survey and voting "yes" to raising taxes on the ballot.

There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Legislature, but Utah voters will support the initiative with a broad majority.

The inability to use fractions to hide the actual percentage will be the death blow for this effort.

I guess this group wants to eliminate our legislative system. Another Tax increase is too much especially since there is no accountability now. What a stupid idea. Don't like it at all.

Surveys of willingness to pay more for education - when the answer doesn't affect your budget - are different from a vote to increase your taxes by 20%. Significant voter-imposed tax increases are few and far between.

Nobody likes tax increases.

Polls show that a majority of Utahns want stronger support for public schools and that they are willing to increase their taxes to make it happen. Perhaps, if we are very lucky, the Legislature will take the results of the "Our Schools Now" effort seriously and do what they should have done all along - but many legislators have never been very responsive to their constituents on this issue. Still, I have my fingers crossed.

They have the money to get the signatures. But nobody likes a 20 percent tax increase. And that's what they're pushing.

Once voters understand the real tax increase of 17 plus percent, it's doomed. Education needs more money, but it's the job of the legislature to make that happen!

Finally, it's time that we take care of our school children and understand the future generation has to have the infrastructure to compete in the global economy.

Utah is conservative, and I just don't see them passing a huge tax increase as a ballot initiative. While Utahns want more funding in education, I think they'll see this process as too risky in the end.

We should be paying our teachers a living wage, and have them work full time. There are plenty of junk programs to take the needed money from.

People in Utah value education and understand that it is our collective responsibility to fund it.

People will not vote for two tax increases in one, especially not people in Utah. We are fiscally conservative and are tired of throwing money at problems. We are innovators; this proposal is beneath us and the Utah entrepreneurial spirit.

It is very difficult to get a tax hike passed, even if it is a worthy cause. The bottom line is that the majority will think it is a good idea but they will not want to pay for it.

The citizens of Utah demand more taxpayer funded services and benefits but do not want their taxes increased to pay for it.

When voters start to hear that we currently are spending $9,000 per child per 9 months of class time and that equates to almost $200,000 per 9-month class they will not support more money being taken from them that could otherwise use for food, healthcare, rent, or savings.

The profession of education is not nearly as appealing as it was a few decades ago. The retirement is not as good, the health insurance is expensive with high deductibles, and housing inflation is much higher than salary increases. College costs are much more expensive. That is why less and less are choosing education. This needs to pass to salvage the profession.

The hemming and hawing of the taxpayers association aside, the only thing that will stop OSN is a legislative compromise.

The people of Utah must promote and champion this issue. The Republican majority in the State House and Senate don't have the fortitude.

Because people contradict themselves all the time. They will be fine with it until they learn it's their money. Wish they understood it was also their children.

Raising taxes for education has always polled well in Utah. With the legislature failing to take action on this issue year, after year; it seems likely there will be a lot of support to circumvent the legislature and do it at the ballot box.

I do not support forking over any more money for public education. Too much is already wasted, and more money is not the answer!

Utahns do not want to pay higher taxes. And they should see that government needs to spend in a smarter way.

The people of Utah will sign any petition presented to them if they understand the issue or not. Signature gathering will be this state's downfall.

The legislature has refused to give more than lip service to supporting education. It is time to step up and provide meaningful funding. I believe people will be willing to shoulder the burden of education funding.

I hope it doesn't pass, but never underestimate the stupidity of a Utah voter. How long do we keep throwing money at public schools before we admit that more money is NOT synonymous with better education!!

I really hope Utahns will be smart and not vote to raise their taxes or mine.

Utah citizens always poll in favor of additional money for schools and will sign a petition to put the issue on the ballot. However, once they see what the cost might be to them individually, they vote no.