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The 'T' Word

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The "T" word as in "tax increase" has surfaced on Capitol Hill.

That’s not surprising in view of Utah’s ongoing budget woes and the real possibility of enacting significant education reforms.

Such talk is difficult for conservative lawmakers to fathom. To them, tax hikes are an anathema. And yet, the dynamics of politics, circumstance and society’s needs may be leading lawmakers somewhere many of them thought they’d never go.

As the debate progresses, we remind lawmakers that their constituents, generally, are not opposed to paying higher taxes if - and that’s always the caveat - if they can be assured it will go toward improving education.

In recent years, public opinion polls have regularly reflected this attitude.

A KSL-Deseret News poll taken just before the legislative session began is a recent example: a majority of Utahns, 53-percent favors a general tax increase for education.

The fact voters in three school districts earlier this month approved local property tax hikes to meet local needs underscores the desire of a majority of Utahns to do what’s best for the state’s school children.

On this important issue, KSL shares the majority view. Utah’s tax burden may be among the highest in the nation. Then again, no other state has as many children, per capita, as we do.

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