ST. GEORGE — With Election Day six weeks away, Gov. Gary Herbert is asking Utahns to support raising the state’s gas tax to supply additional funding for Utah’s schools.
In a 30-second commercial that rolled out this week, Herbert asks Utahns to join him in voting for Question 1, a nonbinding question that will be featured on the November ballot and gauge the state’s support for raising the gas tax by 10 cents.
Should the ballot question pass, thus signaling public support for the tax increase, it will then move to the Legislature to possibly enact.
“With Utah’s tremendous economic success, we have one of the strongest economies in the nation,” Herbert says in the commercial. “But we also have more cars on the road and more students in the classroom.
“While Question 1 will raise the gas by just 10 cents, it will provide over $100 million a year to help relieve congestion on the roads and to alleviate some of the pressure in our classrooms.”
Raising the gas tax would generate an estimated $180 million annually and cost Utah taxpayers an extra $4 a month at the pump.
Question 1 is the result of a compromise between the Utah Legislature and the Our Schools Now ballot initiative made during the legislative session earlier this year.
As a part of the compromise, 70 percent of the money raised by the increased tax – $125 million – will go to education funding while the remaining 30 percent – $55 million – will go toward funding road-related projects in municipalities and counties across the state.
The new funding would result in an additional $150 per student.
According to Q1facts.com, a website supporting Question 1, funds raised by the gas tax can be used for various means such as raising educator salaries, buying school supplies, reducing class sizes, bringing in new technology for students to use, hiring new teachers and staff, and so on.
The funds can not be applied to administrative overhead or funding a school district’s capital projects.
As for how much money could to go to individual schools if Question 1 passes, a school-by-school breakdown is posted on the website.
For example, Bloomington Elementary could receive $95,570, while Fossil Ridge Intermediate could get $84,790, Dixie Middle $126,174 and Enterprise $62,218.
“Most importantly, the money will go directly to the classroom,” Herbert says on the commercial before asking fellow Utahns to join him in voting for Question 1.
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