Natalie Gochnour: Invest in people and support Question 1

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  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Oct. 23, 2018 6:50 a.m.

    This, folks, is how "democratic socialism" works. When an industry (education) is socialized, the consumers (students) and producers (teachers) become pawns in the game of preserving and strengthening the bureaucratic structure. Consumers (in socialized medicine, the public) are underserved and producers (in socialized medicine, doctors and nurses) are underpaid. It's systemic, built into the nature of the bureaucratic organization, and not something that can be fixed by adjusting this or that. The solution that delivers the best results for consumers and producers is the market solution. Socialism may look good on paper, but in practice never has sufficient resources to deliver the promised utopia, hence the never-ending pressure to increase funding.

  • Rebekeh Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2018 8:23 p.m.

    @ Gildas

    I'm not in favor of question 1. I'm a teacher and I must disagree with your position. We have a severe teacher shortage in Utah. This is the direct result of low pay and more importantly, low teacher moral. The Utah State Legislature has made public education public enemy #1 for the last ten years and is evidenced in comments like yours.

    Public educators educate everyone. Private schools give students a test before they are even admitted. If they don't pass the test, students don't get in that school. It's no surprise then that their scores are inflated. Teachers in private schools choose to work for a lower salary for multiple reasons, including reduced tuition for their own children and working with a population that already values education. Low teacher salaries are not the reason scores are higher.

    Do you or someone in your family have a learning disorder? They won't be getting into a private school near you. Do you or someone you know have medical issues or mental health issues that prevent scholarly behavior? They won't be getting into a private school near you? Do you or someone close to you have trouble making ends meet? Good luck.

  • Rebekeh Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2018 12:55 p.m.

    I am a teacher of 25+ years in Utah and I will not vote for this. It isn't because education doesn't need to be funded, because it absolutely does. But this places funding in the wrong place.

    It used to be that education was funded largely by bonds required by builders and developers. Our anti-education legislature got rid of that, and now that there is a crisis in funding education, big business wants to shove that onto the already overtaxed little people. It's regressive as it is deceitful.

    And when Utah loses tourists because of the ridiculous .05% DUI law, it will hurt education funding efforts anyway.

    If you care about education, start voting for democrats. Our long time republican politicians have not served us well.

  • Nunn24 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2018 3:09 a.m.

    In Utah, one must always consider Ulterior Motive. Natalie Gochnour is an executive with the Salt Lake Chamber -- which wants illegal immigration/amnesty/"work permits," for cheap labor. What they really are asking for is a tax increase to accommodate in the classroom the numerous children of the Chamber's cheap labor supply. Make no mistake about it: this tax is an indirect, taxpayer-funded subsidy for the Chamber's labor costs.

  • Reader81 SLC, UT
    Oct. 19, 2018 12:20 p.m.

    Ask all the teachers who are paying g hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets if what they are given is enough. Ask all the teachers who are trying to raise a family on a teacher salary if it is enough. Ask all of the students who are in need of mental help and their teachers if a part time psychologist at their school is enough. Ask all of the teachers who have 35+ students in their classroom because the legislature stretches the budget by capping at a large pupil count if it is enough. Ask all of the teachers who grade all weekend long because of the large class sizes if it is enough. Ask the students who don’t have a certified teacher because of the teacher shortage if it is enough.

  • TerraPack Sandy, UT
    Oct. 19, 2018 4:27 a.m.

    This is really astonishing. All the important and influential power people who have spoken out on Question 1, display the same tunnel vision of transportation funding in Utah over the last 2 decades. So, they all highly recommend this gas tax hike. Amazingly, this includes the Utah Executive branch, and most notably, UDOT!

    Now, if they put their thinking caps on and reviewed the actual full range of transportation funding, they would be recommending an entirely different and more responsible set of solutions.

    So, Governor Herbert, you think this over for a few days and come out with those better recommendations. Ultimately, the major sectors of transportation fall within your bailiwick, including mass transit, which you and previous Utah Governors have assiduously ignored. So, there's your hint; now get to work.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:51 p.m.

    Great to see such a consensus and I agree with the majority view herein expressed, and the reasons given.

    Most of our local taxes seem to go to 'education' but we get only average scores as has been pointed out. More money never has solved that problem or improved that situation, and still more money will not change it or improve it. Definition of insanity...... you know the rest.

    I believe a better education can be obtained in a private school where teachers are typically paid substantially less than in the public school system and also receive less benefits. This further proves the point it is not about paying more money to public schools.

    Teachers seem to be happier in the private system, have less discipline problems, and the children seem to learn more.

    Another point that is think is worth making. Gas taxes should be for road repairs.

    Gas taxes are paid by all and are particularly hard on the poor working family. Legislators like it because every one pays gas tax in one way or another. Legislators, I would say, "grind the faces of the poor" and this is one way they do it.

    Call your legislator and, whatever your reasoning, tell them "ENOUGH" already!

  • Jacobiuntherus Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 4:35 p.m.

    I'll vote for proposition 1 when some government officials explain where all the money goes from my property taxes that have gone up several hundred dollars over the last 3 years! We are told they have gone up in proportion to the increased value of the properties.

    So if thousands of homes have had their property taxes increased by hundreds of dollars each year that means the counties or state have received millions of extra tax dollars.

    I see that a lot of the property tax dollars goes for public education. Well then - you already have increased revenues for education so give us a break and stop begging for more. We the people can only stand so much taxation and you have reached your limit. So the answer to your question - will I vote for proposition #1 - answer: NO!

  • OneCougar FR, 00
    Oct. 18, 2018 1:37 p.m.

    I agree with many of the comments already on here. I am tired of politicians' bait-and-switch tactics always claiming that they are raising taxes "for education" while wasting the surpluses on the things they know voters would never approve. Way too much of the money that does make its way to the education bucket gets wasted on endlessly-growing administrations and administrative costs instead of education of the kids. As they continually raise taxes, they also (in the name of lack of funding) reduce or cut programs and activities that provide a well-rounded education (recess, art, music, PE, vocational courses, etc). Instead of cutting useful programs or raising taxes, how about we just get rid of all administrators who never directly interact with the kids and teachers? How about we stop wasting money on so many things that sound great and look good but that don't actually improve education in any way? And how about we get rid of the five billion days of standardized tests each year so the kids actually have time to get educated?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 1:25 p.m.

    @Anonymous100
    RE: "First of all, I resent the pull at the heartstrings that by not supporting this gas tax increase one is not supporting children"...
    ---
    What the... You saw how cute those kids were on those commercials. How can you say that Anonymous?

    ===

    The commercials really were cute. But the strings and switches being bulled behind the scenes isn't.

    We need to know if/how much of the money would go to teachers. And how much will end up getting lost somewhere else before we (well at list "I") will vote for it.

    Do we know for sure if ANY of it will make it to the classroom? It is a "non-binding" question on the ballot. That means they are not obligated to send ANY money to education. It's totally up to them. You just gave them the mandate to raise your taxes, that's all. No commitment on how the money would be used. Or how much would go into teacher salaries.

    It just seems like a weird way to do things to me.

  • Anonymous100 Anywhere, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:38 p.m.

    First of all, I resent the pull at the heartstrings that by not supporting this gas tax increase one is not supporting children. Nonsense! The problem I have is if the state needs more money for education, then just raise taxes, period. But leave gas taxes in place for what they were intended: highway/road infrastructure, repair and maintenance, not schools.

    This is a misguided attempt to find another source of revenue for "education," but it is coming from the wrong source. Once this veil is pierced, once gas taxes are used for "education," where does it end? Taxes for the homeless? Taxes for welfare? Taxes for medical? Taxes for [insert environmental cause here], and so on. The gas tax also will not just hit the pocketbooks of commuters, it will drive up the prices on everything: food, clothing, shelter, fuel, anything and everything that transportation touches. This is a really, really bad idea.

  • Fabled Soul Provo, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:24 p.m.

    Like always, Mrs. Gochnour, the mouthpiece for the chamber of crony capitalism, gets a space in this newspaper to push her and their elitist agenda.

  • thebig1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:59 a.m.

    Education does not need any more money thrown at it, it needs business man running it not educators. And let's get rid of those outlandish pensions those people get.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:51 a.m.

    The school district already jacked up my property taxes, along with the people that guess how much my home is worth.

    You already have taken the cost of this new tax from me, and now you want more.

    However, lets not forget that Utah is going to run a surplus this year. Can't that surplus be used to fund schools?

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:35 a.m.

    @2bits;
    "So I guess we just agree... without all the Assumptions about what I would think or what I'd do to fit your stereotype for me. We just agree.

    I know this is the Utah Legislature doing this. And yes... I'm calling them out."

    Thanks. On some things, we are closer than we think.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:18 a.m.

    @Impartial7 10:12 a.m.
    RE: "2 bits we rarely agree. Good job here. However, If this was a Democratic proposal, you'd be ranting (and rightly so) at the "liberal socialists" that are coming for our hard earned money. This is all Utah GOP politicians. Will you call them out?"....
    ---
    Uuuhhhmmm... I think I did call them out. Didn't I?

    I know this is the Utah Legislature doing this. I stand by everything I said earlier.

    So I guess we just agree... without all the Assumptions about what I would think or what I'd do to fit your stereotype for me. We just agree.

    I know this is the Utah Legislature doing this. And yes... I'm calling them out.

  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:00 a.m.

    2bits

    "So raise our taxes. We all want it (if it makes education happy). But please guarantee this is going to make them happy first. I'm tired of increasing funding for education by record levels every year and then getting nothing but complaints from teachers not happy with their pay."

    "Love teachers. Just tired of this every year."

    If you are tired of this every year, who do you keep voting for every year. That might be the biggest part of the problem.

    you know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results...

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 10:26 a.m.

    No.

    There are MANY reasons to vote no. Here are a few:

    1. most districts already raised their mill levy either this year or last. My district raised taxes 10% - with no help from me btw.

    2. Most of the extra will go the administrators, and principals, even if it is only as a "percentage" raise. i.e. raising a principals salary by even 2% amounts to much more for him that does the same percentage to an actual teacher.

    3. Districts bellyache every year that they CAN'T get enough teachers for the classes - yet every year they do. When was the last time you hear of an empty classroom??

    4. Continual complaining from the teachers; EXCEPT, what other job pays 45k to start and offers lucrative benefits, and you only have to work 180 days per year? BTW - I've never heard of a teacher with >10 years at the job who doesn't make > 60k per year. Principals (most of them) are >120k per year.

    Year after year we hear the same same sad song. Yet schools manage to raise property taxes all on their own without any help from us.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 10:12 a.m.

    @2 bits - Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:58 a.m.
    Our legislators are chicken. They are saying, "Tell us you want us to increase gas taxes (which by law can't be spent on education)... and we will promise to increase funding for education"...
    That's a bait&switch.
    They want to blame YOU (not them) for raising taxes. They don't want to make this tough and unpopular decision to raise gas taxes when they need to run their re-election campaigns and ask you for your vote (after raising your taxes)."

    2 bits we rarely agree. Good job here. However, If this was a Democratic proposal, you'd be ranting (and rightly so) at the "liberal socialists" that are coming for our hard earned money. This is all Utah GOP politicians. Will you call them out?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:58 a.m.

    Our legislators are chicken. They are saying, "Tell us you want us to increase gas taxes (which by law can't be spent on education)... and we will promise to increase funding for education"...

    That's a bait&switch.

    They want to blame YOU (not them) for raising taxes. They don't want to make this tough and unpopular decision to raise gas taxes when they need to run their re-election campaigns and ask you for your vote (after raising your taxes).

    #1. Don't raise gas taxes with the promise to increase education funding (when gas taxes can't fund education).

    I know the excuse is that they stole education money to pay for transportation projects in the past, leaving education holding the bag. But if that's the case... just repent and fund education appropriately now (not some vague promise to do it later). And then show us the gap we have funding needed transpiration projects. Then ask voters if we want to raise taxes to fund THOSE Projects.

    Then we would be increasing our gas taxes for what it's for (transporation projects). Not the bait (popular education funding promises)

    Fund education first. Then ask if we want to raise gas taxes to fund DOT projects.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:34 a.m.

    Why don't they add a question to the ballot that says, "We want to increase our taxes, any tax (Gas tax, Sales Tax, Income Tax, Property Tax, ANY Tax)... if you say it goes to teachers...

    Many voters would say, "Yes.. I want my taxes increased. If you will just fund education, and teachers stop bellyaching for once in my life"!

    This has been going on my whole 59 years (teachers threatening to strike, saying they aren't paid enough, they are under respected, and over worked). I don't know of a year where this wasn't the story in the news.

    If there's something (ANYTHING) we could do to end that... Please do it.

    But I'm old enough to know that nothing is going to do that. There is literally no amount of money we could give education that would make them happy. They will always (and I mean always no matter what) demand more.

    So raise our taxes. We all want it (if it makes education happy). But please guarantee this is going to make them happy first. I'm tired of increasing funding for education by record levels every year and then getting nothing but complaints from teachers not happy with their pay.

    Love teachers. Just tired of this every year.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:33 a.m.

    We have "invested" in kids for decades and what we have is a pretty sorry situation in this country's public education system. The education industry (both management and union employees) is always after more of the taxpayer dollar for themselves. They have an insatiable appetite for your money - always under the guise of 'investing' in our future. Bah!

    Based on my observations over the years, my father (eighth-grade education) had a much better education coming from a one-room schoolhouse with one teacher, than well over 90 percent of those I know who have graduated from high school in Utah. Pouring more money into the education industry to reward non-performance is not the answer.

  • HSTucker Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:19 a.m.

    A top educational administrator wants more taxes for more money to go to education. Could there be a conflict of interest in this editorial?

    Rather than continuing to support and inflate a system that is clearly broken (tuition costs and accompanying student loans are out of control), perhaps Ms. Gochnour could learn something from BYU-I and the LDS Church's Pathway program, which drives tuition down.

    With the almost-free technology of the internet, surely it's possible to educate students for a fraction of the current (and projected) cost? Let's see some innovation resulting in lower tuition, not higher.

  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:09 a.m.

    Natalie;

    "I want to talk about the public policies — specifically education — that lift people to a better place. If we invest more in people, we will have better societal outcomes for everyone."

    Natalie, you can talk about it all you want but you are either misinformed or naive. Most of the money will go to road and highway construction and maintenance.

    The tax is just another Republican way of taking more money from taxpayers. They love doing that in spite of their claim of "lower taxes" and "smaller government."

    If there is really a concern about funding education there are 2 ways that it can be done. First, don't allow a tax deduction for anymore than 2 children. Let those that use the system pay into it the same way that those without children have to.

    The 2nd way to generate more money for schools is to allow a lottery. It's a VOLUNTARY tax paid by consumers.
    Many states provide free or subsidized tuition for students going into a state college or trade school. Georgia gives free tuition to students that maintain a "B" average or better.

    BTW those people on the street once went to school and education didn't keep them off the street. That is a different issue.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 8:54 a.m.

    More money is not the answer to better education. Many very poor people, with very poor schools, have reached the highest levels of academic and intellectual achievement. Ironically, I believe the answer is in exactly the opposite direction: start teaching students to take responsibility, including responsibility to educate oneself. Stop encouraging them to be victims who expect everything to be laid out for them in a "safe space". Recall that our greatest Presidents educated themselves by the light of an oil lamp in log cabins.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 8:28 a.m.

    This is misguided thinking along with some falsehoods.
    " The tax will cost the average driver $4 a month and increase per pupil spending by $150."
    Maybe for short commuters. But for families that are driving hundreds of miles to theirs kid's practices and games, it's much more. Going to Moab and back will cost your monthly $4.00. Plus, any product that you buy will cost more to ship and every service call for a repair will cost you more. Make the Legislature do their job and revamp the tax code to get those with larger families to pay a little more. This is a tax on ourselves while the wealthy and those with large families pay less. Vote NO!

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 8:20 a.m.

    If passed this 30% tax increase will not send any money to education. It might free up some money currently pulled from the General Fund into transportation that might be redirected back to Education. It's more than $4 a month. It will also impact the cost of everything as every ounce of fuel sold in this state, including that used by delivery vehicles, farm vehicles and so on will also have to pay this added cost, which will of course be passed directly on to us the consumers, so it's a 30% tax incrase on fuel we buy and an additional increase in the cost of everything we buy and use.

    And the money that might go to education? They promise it will go straight to the schools but there is no funding route for that. It will go through the Districts which will again scoop up most of it for more administrative bloat.

    A gas tax hurts the poor far more as well, they don't have the leeway to absorb that extra cost. Nor can tehy afford to buy an Electric to avoid the fuel tax entirely.

    And that also points out the daanger of the fuel tax. Gas use is going to start dropping as more and more buy electric vehicles. What then? That money for the schools will evaporate.
    Vote NO!