Push to raise Utah income tax to help schools moving ahead

Published on March 20, 2017 at 10:49AM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A group of business leaders is moving ahead with a push to get Utah voters to raise the state income tax to generate an extra $750 million annually to address a teacher shortage, crowded classrooms and other school needs. Officials with the group Our Schools Now say they appreciate the extra $120 million Utah lawmakers put toward enrollment growth and teacher pay this year, but said it’s not enough. The group said this week they plan to start gathering signatures this summer for a ballot initiative that would ask voters in 2018 to raise Utah’s individual income tax 7/8ths of a percentage point. That would raise the rate to 5.785 percent, up from 5 percent. Utah’s Republican legislators and Gov. Gary Herbert have not supported the proposal. They say raising income tax rates can hurt the economy.