Politics
4:26 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Utah Democrats Call for Increased Education Funding

Josie Valdez, the Vice-Chair of the Utah Democratic Party, calls on lawmakers that the Capitol to increase education funding.
Josie Valdez, the Vice-Chair of the Utah Democratic Party, calls on lawmakers that the Capitol to increase education funding.
Credit Terry Gildea

On the second day of the 2013 Legislative Session, Utah Democrats called for a dramatic increase in state education funding, but where that money would come from remains uncertain.  

Democratic Party Chairman and State Senator Jim Dabakis outlined the problems facing the state’s education system at a press conference Tuesday. Utah has the most crowded classrooms in the nation and forty-five percent of minority students in the state aren’t graduating from high school.   Debakis says his party is still crafting its plan to solve these problems, but he says an income tax may be necessary.

"We don’t have the wherewithal to look at the public in the state of Utah and say it’s a catastrophe.  And you know what? If we’re going to go from fiftieth to fortieth, we may have to get some other revenue and somebody needs to say that. We haven’t had an increase since Governor Bangerter’s time," said Dabakis.

Republican Senator Lyle Hillyard is co-chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee.  He says two questions need to be answered before lawmakers know how can allocated to education in this session.

"Number one how much money are we going to have and number two what’s the priorities of the Education Appropriations Committee," said Hillyard.

Senator Hillyard says neither the Republican Majority nor Governor Herbert are considering tax increase at this point in the session.