House committee rejects education tax change

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 10:57 AM

Antone Clark

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill changing the personal exemption component of state tax returns from a fixed percentage of the federal exemption to a fixed dollar amount has died in a House committee.

HB 55 was geared toward making changes to tax and educational provisions to find a long-term solution to funding for public education in Utah, said Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, the bill sponsor.

Briscoe said the bill wasn’t going to pump millions into state coffers short-term but would provide a stable tax mechanism going forward.

Royce Van Tassell, of the Utah Taxpayers Association, said the legislation would guarantee a tax increase every year.

Jay Blain, of the Utah Education Association, supported the bill, saying it was a good mechanism to raise revenue over time to put state funding for education on more stable ground.

The measure drew little support in committee, but it did generate discussion about how the state is funding public education.

Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, said state lawmakers would be foolish to think they are funding growth in education. “We do have a problem, and I acknowledge that problem. There is no simple solution in how we do this.”

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