The Utah statewide ballot is voting in favor of the controversial Amendment G. This will allow the funds from the income tax which covers education to also cover funding social service programs of children and individuals with disabilities.
The new amendment will move about $600 million from education funds into social programs.
“This new legislation with H.B. 357 was finally a mechanism for actually getting the money to our education family,” said LeAnn Woods, vice president of Utah PTA.
To make up for the diversion of funds, lawmakers also passed House Bill 357, which ensures that schools will get enough funding to cover rising student populations and inflation.
“We are actually in a better spot given that this legislation is protected,” said Woods.
Critics say state leaders could choose to divert additional funds as time goes on. “Once it becomes a part of the normal legislative process, you can change a bill at any time,” said Moe Hickey, CEO of Voices for Utah Children.
Additional criticisms come from concern about the funding — issues similar to what happened in the 2008 recession. “Where do you get the funds to then fund programs for children with disabilities and special needs?” said Hickey.
The amendment will pass with 53.5% in favor and 46.5% against. It will take effect on Jan 1st, 2021.