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Utah senator wants money for schools — by eliminating family child tax exemption

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  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:11 p.m.

    Ah the compassionate senator!! She wants to help the children by impoverishing their struggling parents.

    Made me think of Proverbs 12:10 about "the tender mercies of the wicked".

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    400 Million is a lot of money and having families with children pay for it makes sense on the level of people paying for services used. But, the issue is much more complicated then that.

    All people benefit from public education. Having an educated workforce benefits employers. Education has been shown to lower crime. Education makes commerce easier, so on and so on.

    When Utah spends the least amount per student of any state in the country, it seems obvious we need to invest more in public education and I applaud Senator Jones for thinking of ways to make our schools better. We all need to figure out a way to fund our schools adequately for all of our state's children and do it in a way that shares the burden since we all benefit either directly or indirectly from their education.

  • isrred South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 11:31 a.m.

    "If more money is needed for education, it is better to spread the costs evenly, than to hit families with children when they can least afford it"

    That is precisely the point, the costs ARE NOT being spread evenly. Single people and couples without children are paying FAR more for education that the couples with children in the system.

    Yes, everyone benefits from an educated populace and everyone should contribute, but to complain that families with children are being unfairly picked on is laughable.

  • jotab Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 26, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    Dear AZ Cougar,
    How is this a "giveaway" to the teacher union? Her plan is to send the money directly to the schools for the local community councils to decide how to use the money. Are local neighbor hood groups fronts for unions? Take your union hate somewhere else.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 25, 2013 9:22 p.m.

    This is not a proposed tax increase! It's an elimination of a deduction that shouldn't be there. It makes no sense to give those that are overloading the system tax deductions to overload the system even further. It's funny to listen to republicans complain about redistribution of wealth yet they are perfectly fine with having me with no children in the system pay several thousand dollars a year for education but my neighbor down the road has five kids in the system and pays nothing in state income taxes. Isn't that redistributing my wealth to my neighbor?

  • New to Utah PAYSON, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 6:20 p.m.

    Terrible idea whose time has not come. Why on earth would we tax people for having children? We are growing at an enemic rate, We need educated workers to pay off the $17 trillion our politicians especially Democrats have run up. It is clearly cutting off the nose to spite the face.We are bankrupting the nation quick enough with Obama's policies why handicap those willing to have children? Utah's teachers are actually doing a good job with much less money than DC or California schools who have three or four times the money.

  • bill in af American Fork, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    Senator Jones makes sense. It is too bad that the Republican leadership will probably try to kill the bill because it is being proposed by a Democrat. I've been a life long Republican who has constantly seen common sense bills for education eliminate by our state legislature. Citizens need to stand up and tell their representatives in Utah to start representing their needs and not the Eagle Forum and other far right philosophies.

  • open minded Lehi, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 1:38 p.m.

    This is NOT a tax increase- it is a step to end Socialism in Utah. We subsidize large families in Utah all the time. If you choose to have lots of kids you should pay for them- Free Market!
    I love how conservatives will suddenly pull out data to say money alone in schools doesn't fix schools. Yet when conservatives are confronted with Global Warming data they claim science and data is fake- picking and choosing when to use facts in life cracks me up.

  • AZ Cougar Gilbert, AZ
    Aug. 25, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    While I agree with the concept of a flat tax, or a consumption tax, I do not think such a change should include a $400 million giveaway to the teacher's unions.

    Implement a flat tax that is revenue neutral and outlaw public sector unions all together. Public unions and politicians feed off each other (with our money) until you end up with bankrupt municipalities and states.

    As for those complaining about paying for families with lots of kids, go watch the documentary "Demographic Winter" on BYUTV and see what happens when society stops having enough children to replace the existing population. The USA is already hovering around 2.0 children per couple. It's not pretty when the number goes below 2.0 and nobody is left to pay for all your medicare, medicaid, social security, welfare, food stamps, public employee pensions, etc.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Aug. 25, 2013 3:00 a.m.

    I agree that schools need more money. Last year I went to back to school night. My daughter's class had 35 students in it. Parents were asked to sit in their child's desk. The desks were so close together that it was difficult to squeeze into it (maybe I'm just overweight, but 35 kids in a class is a lot too).

    I agree with other posts that too much money is being spent on administration positions. At times the best teachers become administrators because of the increased pay. We need those great teachers in the classroom. They should be paid better.

    I am concerned with the dollars being diverted to transportation. These dollars were originally earmarked for schools, but in the 90's changes to the UT constitution allowed for diversion to transportation. I feel school dollars should remain with schools. Let UTA and transportation find their own sources of money.

    For those who believe Utah doesn't have an education funding problem (they usually say schools get enough money, and that money won't improve education) I disagree. I've seen 35 desks in a classroom. I know that teacher-to-student ratios make a difference.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 24, 2013 10:19 p.m.

    For those who want to take "your share of the money in the way of a voucher" I am totally in favor of that concept as long as you will agree that I should get "my share of the money I pay for education to use as I choose". I have no kids in the system, so that would mean I get all my state tax money back.

    I have a better idea. How about we do away with state income tax, and you spend your money as you choose for your childs education? That would be fair and create the ultimate example of school choice.

    For the rest of you that think having big families means that you are paying my bills in the future you are pretty funny. That has been a theory in Utah for many years now. If it really worked we would be the wealthiest state in the country by now. The problem however is your kids then do as you do and have large families pay minimal taxes and let someone else pay for their kids and this continues generation after generation, and the pressure on the education and other systems continue to increase.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Aug. 24, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    If anything, it is the singles and childless married couples who should have their taxes raised since they have taken advantage of a system that requires not only present, but future workers to support. Of course, it doesn't surprise me that the state senator, a Democrat, doesn't understand the value of life and the asset that comes with any child, including a lifetime contributing member of the tax base. Those who don't understand the value of life at birth, would not understand the value of a life carried forward 78 years. Typically, politicians are only interested in meddling with other citizen's rights and money, rather than giving the irresponsible and thriftless another avenue to be so. Reject this idea.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 24, 2013 6:50 p.m.

    Fine. Let the bill pass, but let the parents use "their share" of that money at the school of their choice. Why continue to support failing schools at the public's expense? If a school is "good enough" to receive public money, let that school compete in the free market for funding. Let the parents decide who is qualified to teach their children.

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Aug. 24, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    Dear trekker:

    1. The percentage of school funding going toward administrative salaries is lower in Utah than in any other state.
    2. There are those who keep talking about running education more like a business. Show me a business where one supervisor has responsibility for 50 employees and 500 children. These numbers are real. In a high school with 2500 students, like those along the Wasatch Front, there are a principal, and two or three assistants. So with four administrators, each has about 50 employees (on average), counting custodians, teachers, cafeteria staff, counselors, and secretarial staff, in addition to 500 to 700 students for whom they are responsible. No business asks so much.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 24, 2013 3:29 p.m.

    Leave it to a dem to want to tax families. Talk about a regressive tax.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 24, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    Hey if we really want to be "fair", and keep in mind that "fair" is in the eye of the beholder, and ignoring that life really isn't "fair", why not give all parents a voucher for their children's education based upon the WPU and let them be totally responsible for their child's education. That way you can delete the tax supported overhead of administration and let private accreditation bodies grade schools for parents to judge where to enroll the child.

    Athletics and extra curricular activities would be via clubs and volunteer groups and sponsors .

    If colleges want to assure their applicants are qualified they can set their own standards via test, interview or what ever standard they choose to set.

    Expand Vo-Ed for those who do not want to go to college. Encourage apprenticeship programs in the trades to permit entry at 16 years of age.

    The savings by dropping the administrative overhead would be significant, and if a school did not want to participate in any or all federal program, they would be private and not have to do so.

    Will some students fail? Yes, but some fail in the present system.

  • Neanderthal Pheonix, AZ
    Aug. 24, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    Has this guy lost his mind? Dependent tax exemptions are designed to help with the costs of raising children.

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    Aug. 24, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    You make rotten sausage, Sen Jones. Your combination of taxing and spending changes stinks in my opinion. If you'd try a separate approach with your 2 ideas, your taxation idea would most certainly get voted down. If you'd try to improve education funding other ways you could get a winner; such as capping compensation to about 10-15% above the average teacher's compensation - admin / supv work is not worth the extra money we've become accustomed to paying; such as equalizing budgets / compensation across rich and poor school districts - we need to give opportunity to all our children, not just the children of the well off; such as cut spending for inter-school sports - fans should pay for inter-school sports, not taxpayers.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Aug. 24, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Before childless couples, or small families, bemoan their social burdens, do remember that those "herds" of children will be paying for government subsidies of the elderly, in their time of need.

    To me, the definition of civilization is how well children, and those in need, are cared for and valued. America is well-invested in the pride cycle. We all know how that ends. And, for the record, it always begins with the rich and powerful.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 24, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    I have to admit things have changed over the years. Having a large family, even in Utah, isn't seen quite the same way it was years ago when such people were deemed to be role models. Still, I would be surprised how far a bill like this got. It still will be seen as a "tax increase."

  • Most Truthful and Patriotic Layton, UT
    Aug. 24, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Senator Jones is on track.
    If large families provide workers to pay into Social Security and Medicare, don't they also tax our natural resources?

    At a time when everyone wants gigantic McMansions, where do we put them (and how to do provide resources) when families are growing exponentially faster than our earth can support? If you have four kids, and they each have four kids, and they each have four kids -- that 64 grandchildren to provide for. THINK, people!

    One solution to Social Security and Medicare is to raise the retirement age. When the systems were devised, people generally lived five years longer. Now, they live 25 years.
    Another solution is fair wages, so that people CAN support their own families. Where do you all think the jobs are going to come from?

  • Independent Thinker West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 24, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Thank you, Senator Jones, for continuing to fight for solutions to the larger problems in Utah.

    Personally, I'm all for personal responsibility and minimizing unduly burdensome social engineering wherever possible. This is a step in the right direction - even better than the previously proposed Jones-Mascaro bills from several years ago.

  • Spoc Ogden, UT
    Aug. 24, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    If I am the only one who has a vested interest in educating my children, then I should be the only one who reaps the benefit from creating the next generation of taxpayers. By your logic, the social security payments, medicare benefits, city services, military budget, all of those wonderful things my children will be paying for with their tax dollars, should proportionately flow back to those of us who made all that possible by raising an educated generation.

    Those of you that do not want to contribute to that future, should have no claim on that future. When you retire, your retirement should be funded by you, not my children. Your medicare benefit should be paid for by you, not my children. Sadly, that is not going to be much because the government long ago found they could buy your vote by paying out all those funds immediately instead of saving it for you. The government lives hand to mouth. Without my tax paying generation of children paying for your future, your future looks pretty bleak.

    If fairness is the name of the game, that's fair isn't it?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 9:57 p.m.

    "Per child tax deductions are socialism and nothing more." This is an odd statement (how about: "picking up the trash is socialism and nothing more"), but I assume this respondent thinks "socialism" is a dirty word. I obviously don't. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Senator Jones' measure would make things tighter for a lot of kids. I don't support her proposal. If she hopes to help her own party, she's sadly mistaken.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    So Republicans scream for a flatter tax system that eliminates give-aways to one group at the expense of others...And the Dems offer you something that makes our code flatter.... I can see your heads spinning from here.

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 8:45 p.m.

    Per child tax deductions are socialism and nothing more. They're government sponsored social engineering that true conservatives despise. The concept of personal responsibility should dictate that those who use services should pay for those services.

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 8:18 p.m.

    The word tax "exemption" means that instead of families with children paying their fair share of taxes that because in many cases they deliberately chose to have a child, the current state policy is to "exempt" them. However, because of the large families in Utah, the burden of paying for taxes has shifted towards single people, smaller families having to subsidize other families's children's education. While it can be argued that everybody benefits from the public education of all children, unfortunately, the direct benefits to large families is likely greater in the long run for the larger family than for those without children or smaller families. For parents who choose to have children, it is important that they accept the responsibility that goes along with having children and that includes paying their fare share for that child's education. Exemptions are unfair for the rest of us.

  • jp3 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 8:08 p.m.

    Ranking dead last in per-pupil spending--not a definitive measure of education quality, but a very large factor--is certainly making some large companies think twice about investing in Utah.

    And for families who essentially pay no tax because of all these exemptions, this would figuratively and literally make them "invested" in their children's education--maybe if this was the case, parents would take their jobs as education facilitators more seriously (getting their kids to complete homework, respect teachers, dress appropriately, attend class, etc.).

  • Plagefille St. George, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    What about the families who do NOT use the public schools. Does not seem fair to say they should pay extra taxes too when they do not use the schools.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 7:10 p.m.

    This is another crazy idea that fails to consider the second order ramifications. If you raise the cost of raising a child, you will have fewer children, and fewer future workers to support Medicaid and Medicare costs of the older generations. Second, hitting families in the pocketbook when they are most financially vulnerable will only increase the demand for subsidized school lunches, Medicaid, food stamps, healthcare, etc., etc, as these families will no longer be able to avoid basic necessities.

    Primary and secondary education is a service with huge positive externalities for communities and the state as a whole. Those who are single or empty nesters benefit hugely from the investment in children by parents AND taxpayers. If more money is needed for education, it is better to spread the costs evenly, than to hit families with children when they can least afford it.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Aug. 23, 2013 6:50 p.m.

    Reagan was right: Democrats never met a tax they didn't hike.

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 6:49 p.m.

    This tax increase should be a non-starter in Utah. We have a legislature that consistently wastes too much public ed dollars that they would find ways to burn an extra 400 million in no time at all.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 6:47 p.m.

    Not a bad idea. User pay works for health care, right?

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 6:45 p.m.

    Thank you, State Senator Jones!

    I believe in "personal responsibility" and that each family should support themselves without subsidies.
    Let's carry it further and have only a "household exemption".

    Signed: one-child parents who've been paying for the herds around us, for years

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 6:43 p.m.

    Bad idea, the schools have enough money, they just need to stop using so much of it on Admin levels. Get it to the teachers!

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 6:30 p.m.

    A reasonable idea to help better fund schools.