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SALT LAKE CITY — After a feisty debate, the Utah Senate voted 17-9 Friday to pass the latest version of SB69, which would create a refundable income tax credit for Utah teachers who spend out of pocket to purchase classroom supplies.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, said the bill would ensure relief for teachers who do not sufficiently benefit from classroom supply money the Utah Legislature appropriates to school districts.
In committee debates, Anderegg said some teachers receive just $100 to $150 each, when the intent is to provide them three or four times that amount.
“Let’s stop pretending the system is working,” Anderegg said.
But others, like Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said the proposal was not brought before the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee and the proposal was not identified as a funding priority.
“It’s not funded within our budget,” he said.
Anderegg said he understands it didn’t get prioritized and still has to go through the appropriations process, but given the robust revenue projections, there should be funding available to do it.
“I think it’s the right policy and it’s something I think we should fight for our teachers,” Anderegg said.
Sen. Kathleen Riebe, D-Cottonwood Heights, who is a schoolteacher, said she appreciates the intent of the bill but appropriating the funding to school districts ensures it goes further because of “economies of scale.”