The UCC is opposing Constitutional Amendment G on the November 2020 ballot. If passed, the Amendment would expand uses of income tax revenues, currently limited to public and higher education, to “supporting children and supporting people with a disability.”

UCC’s major reasons for opposing Amendment G include the following:

(1) Utah does not begin to fund education at the levels needed currently;

(2) HB 357– a somewhat improved distribution scheme for public education funds–which takes effect if the Amendment passes, is not a guarantee of future funding. It can be amended or repealed by any future legislature;

(3) If the Amendment passes, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office estimates the loss of education funding at $600 million initially, and the potential for far higher losses in the future is great;

(4) Once in place, amendment or repeal of this constitutional amendment will be prohibitively difficult, while statutory amendment or repeal of HB 357 is far easier;

(5) The legislative flexibility to be achieved by expanding the income tax earmark is hypocritical. The Legislature has failed to achieve flexibility in its use of its sales tax revenues for children and people with a disability because of sales tax earmarks, especially for road construction, of about $500 million and failure to eliminate tax exemptions and tax credits that are no longer justifiable;

(6) the ballot language is irresponsible because it does not inform voters that the impact of a yes vote to support children and to support people with a disability would seriously affect education revenues by greatly expanding the constitutional earmark currently dedicated solely for public and higher education. In other words, it is a one-sided explanation of the ballot proposition.

The ballot language states “Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to expand the uses of money the state receives from income taxes and intangible property taxes to include supporting children and supporting people with a disability.” Yea ___or Nay ___

A full explanation of our opposition position can be found here – Position Statement on Constitutional Amendment Proposal G.


2018

Our last full report can be accessed at Standing Up For Utah’s Needs. The report assesses the 2018 policy progress toward the realization of the human rights stated in our Declaration of Utah Human Rights. The Declaration serves as the framework for our policy positions. It reflects our view of the kinds of communities in which all Utahns should be able to live. Our focus in 2018 was on: . . .”

  • Impact of economic inequality on health, education, personal safety, and opportunities to thrive and succeed (Article 1: Equal Rights)
  • Air quality, water availability, and climate change (Article 2: Environmental Health)
  • Public education financing, the Our Schools Now initiative petition, and ongoing preschool needs (Article 3: Public Education)
  • Health care cost and quality measures, the importance of social determinants of health, and the continuing need for Medicaid expansion (Article 4: Health)
  • Hate crime legislation, gun violence and suicides (Article 5: Personal Security)
  • Toxic stress and its impact on the brain development of very young children (Article 6: Social Support Systems)
  • Gerrymandering, the Better Boundaries Redistricting initiative, and National Popular Vote movement (Article 7: Participatory Governance)

We are among the many groups that want to be contributing knowledge, analysis, and recommendations for Utah’s future. It is in that spirit that we offer our 2018 report to interested readers.

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A Declaration of Utah Human Rights

Preamble

In recognition that the inherent right of every member of the human family to dignity and respect serves as the foundation of freedom, justice, and tranquility in the state of Utah, as well as the United States of America and the world; and in recognition that this right also frames the shared responsibilities of individuals, organizations, and governments; and inspired by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Utah Citizens’ Counsel (UCC) articulates the following statement of rights as the framework for UCC policy positions.

Article 1: All Utahns, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender and gender identity, language, disability, political preference, age, birth status, military status, or another status, are entitled equally to dignity and respect as human beings and to equitable treatment under the law.

Article 2: All Utahns, young and old, have the right to live and thrive in a healthy environment that includes clean air, land, and water, and share in the responsibility to pass that healthy environment on to succeeding generations.

Article 3: All Utahns have the right to a public education that ensures literacy, numeracy, critical thinking, character development, and the capability for responsible citizenship to help secure a promising future for Utah and the United States in a complex, interdependent, and competitive world.

Article 4: All Utahns have the right to comprehensive, quality health care at reasonable cost, and responsible societal efforts to help them achieve and maintain optimal well-being, with appropriate initiatives that encourage and facilitate healthy living and the prevention of disease, disability, and injury.

Article 5: All Utahns have the right to security of person, especially freedom from physical harm and psychological abuse, whether experienced within the family or in the community at large.

Article 6: All Utahns have the right to the fundamental social support systems that assist in assuring a standard of living adequate for the well-being of both the individual and families, in all their configurations, including timely assistance in case of unemployment, disability, old age, and natural or man-made disasters.

Article 7: All Utahns have the right to transparent and ethical governance as well as effective participation in the democratic process.

 

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