Gov. Herbert lends support to raising gas tax for education funding

In this 2018 file photo, Gov. Gary Herbert speaks at the Washington County GOP Lincoln Day Breakfast, St. George, Utah, Feb. 17, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

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.

Read more: Gov. Herbert praises plan that could triple education funding

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.

Students check out their new classroom at the newly opened Legacy Elementary School, St. George, Utah, Feb. 9, 2017 | File photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

The new funding would result in an additional $150 per student.

According to, 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.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Happy Commenter September 26, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    NO handouts…Fuel tax is already too high!

  • Not_So_Much September 26, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    NO.NO.NO. Please don’t fall for this “it’s for the children'” routine. Let’s start by going back to K–12 is seperate from higher education. Enough is enough.

  • hiker75 September 26, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Heck no. People with more than 2 kids should pay to educate anymore than that!

    • Utahguns September 26, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      Here’s the problem…..and again, it’s the Mo’s that run this state:
      “We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”

      If the Church wants excessive procreation to have more 10%’ers, it should support and subsidize the states’ education programs.
      Otherwise this move is pure thievery.

  • DRT September 26, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Hey if we tell the chump taxpayers that it is for schools and highways, they’ll fall for it once again. Let the state steamroller keep rolling. It’s a great day for us, and for all of our good friends that feed from the unlimited tax money…

    • comments September 26, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      That’s right. They’re just pigs at the trough, squealing “MORE MORE MORE”. It’s time to put these pigs on a diet. They are getting awfully fat on our tax dollars.

  • hiker75 September 26, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    SITLA sells land for a school trust fund. With over 2 billion dollars, they should use that money.

  • Red2Blue310 September 26, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Check your property taxes. Over 1/2 go toward schools. What are they doing with the $ up there?

  • tazzman September 26, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Oh great, another tax increase falling on the working class once again. Utah is a regressive tax state, plain and simple. High food tax, high gas tax, high property tax. Great job empty suit Herbert. You are as worthless as the last three governors of our state. The last decent one was Matheson when I was a kid!

  • jaltair September 26, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    No more taxes, dear Gov! Good points made in the responses, I’ve always seen the “fat” float to the top.

  • Redbud September 26, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    I think the gas tax should only be charged for the wealthy stay-at-home moms who multiply and replenish the Earth and pack fully tricked-out Cadillac Escalades full of children.

  • Borowiak Mark September 26, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    This tax is a done deal, and teachers, don’t spend the big raise until you see what you’ll get out of this. Voters did not support the candidates who would fight this so I guess it’s what they want.

  • Striker4 September 27, 2018 at 12:26 am

    It’s a done deal….you WILL pay the new gas tax !

  • Henry September 27, 2018 at 2:50 am

    Over half of my property taxes go to the school system. Let the school trust sell more land they’re holding… don’t raise my taxes.

    • Redbud September 27, 2018 at 5:47 am

      Henry, I agree with you. That’s what SHOULD happen, but we are talking about the government here. They will probably raise the taxes and us ordinary citizens won’t be able to do anything about it.

  • HerePliggyWiggy September 27, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Obviously Herbert is NOT running for re-election.

  • MCDavo September 27, 2018 at 8:30 am

    We should be allocating ALL gas/fuel tax money to everything road/infrastructure related considering the constant reminders we receive about growth in our state. Also, is taxing all the out of state visitors and those driving through our state who buy fuel the right action to take?- “Taxation without representation?”

  • Mike P September 27, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Oh, gee, the Gov supports a tax hike. Who would have thought?

  • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    2 things. 1. Is Gov Herbert a Democrat or Republican these days? 2. We theow more money at education then almost every other country in the world and we aren’t even in the global top 20. Why is that?

  • Kilroywashere September 27, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    24 out of 72 countries – reading / 40 out of 72 Math. Global. Good news Utah ranks #3 in the USA as far as education.

  • utahdiablo September 28, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Screw you Herbert, the state already raised the gas tax a few years back, just for the “state roadways fund” and it’s already set to raise again every year as it’s linked to the price of wholesale gasoline, which is already way up this year alone….also our property taxes for the school district has rose over $200 a year over the last few years…and that’s not going away…go to hell Herbert , the last Gas tax ( 4.9 cents per gallon ) was done to us in 2015 remember? Under the new law, the 4.9-cent increase could change to a percentage tax at some point in the future.

    Once the wholesale price of gasoline reaches $2.45 per gallon — projected to happen sometime in the next decade — the tax would change to 12 percent of the wholesale price.

    The tax would then increase along with any further increase in wholesale prices, with a cap at 40 cents per gallon.

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