10/15/2004

Funding Utah's Schools

Utah puts more money into public schools than most other states, still spending per student is the lowest in the country. Utah has a comparatively high tax obligation, with 28.8 percent of the state and local tax dollars being spent on education. Funding education in Utah is especially difficult because of the large number of school children.

A recent study shows that Western states fall behind Eastern states in education spending. In the East, per student spending is more than double what it is in the West.

US Representatives Chris Cannon and Rob Bishop argue that the decline in per-pupil spending is directly related to untaxed federal lands. They propose to tax the Federal Government's vast landholdings across 12 Western states which include: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, California, Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. The quantity of land that is Federally owned for National Parks, national Monuments, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, and BLM lands in these states range from 29 to 81 percent of the state's land. No Eastern state has more than 14 percent of its lands federally owned.

These national Parks, national Monuments etc. have been designated for the enjoyment of all people. I believe those same people should be responsible for their proportionate share of the property taxes to fund the schools.

7 comments:

Bryce Larkin said...

Why not, people that visit these national parks should pay a little more. If the per visit was to be increased by $2 to $3 for the entry of these parks it could help the states with their education expense. Also, I think it would be a great idea to tax the government for the land that they own. Nearly 80 percent of Nevada is owned by the government. If individuals have to pay property tax, the government should pay it also.

Joe said...

I think that taxing the govenment on land they own in our state might have a negative impact on us. When the government needs funds how do they get them? They tax us. So if they need money to pay to Utah for the land they own, who eventually pays for it? I think that there is a lot of money waisted in the schools systems now that has nothing to do with the children. If schools would take a look back they could find the money they need to help benefit the students.

Bryce Larkin said...

Joe, I understand that taxing the government would contribute to more debt. But, if the government was taxed for the land they own, maybe it would give them an incentive to either sell more land or lower the taxes on land. Either way I believe would benefit the people of the US.

John West said...

Taking back some of the Federally owned land could also be another proposal that the the states maybe could seek. What I mean is the idea of leasing some of this land back to the Federal government. The leases would be paid for by all U.S. citizens, so as to not just tax those of us living in the West.

Maudi said...

We should not tax the government land. I am tired of hearing about how the class sizes are too big and that they need more funding to better teach the children. The class sizes don't seem to be any bigger then they have been in the past. Their just seems to be a lot more people now interested in class sizes. Teaching is a gift and something that someone should want to do. When you go into a career you know full well what you are getting into and the teaching battle is nothing new.

Maudi said...

We should not tax the government land. I am tired of hearing about how the class sizes are too big and that they need more funding to better teach the children. The class sizes don't seem to be any bigger then they have been in the past. Their just seems to be a lot more people now interested in class sizes. Teaching is a gift and something that someone should want to do. When you go into a career you know full well what you are getting into and the teaching battle is nothing new.

Dr. Tufte said...

This is typical: 1) we need more tax revenue, and 2) let's tax someone who is not us (at least superficially).

Also, how can "Utah puts more money into public schools than most other states, still spending per student is the lowest in the country". Does that fact make sense?

More broadly, do you know of any other business that we measure by the size of its inputs rather than its outputs? That's what the funding is, an input. I'd say that if we're looking at anything other than the quality of graduates then there's already a problem.