The Cost of Raising State Income Taxes to Fund Education

Authored by Michael Melendez, Director of Policy

Perpetual calls to increase funds for K-12 education generally fail to tackle the root causes of scarce funding and ignore the question of whether additional tax revenues are even needed. Often these appeals for greater funding center on increasing the state income tax.

Without a basic understanding of why Utah’s state income tax rate is where it currently is, it can be easy to wrongly conclude that simply raising the rate by a small fraction would do no harm to Utah’s economy.

Utah’s competitive advantage in attracting businesses depends on maintaining favorable regulations and taxes. This includes the state income tax, which impacts the relocation decisions of businesses and their employees.

If the state is serious about increasing K-12 education funding, we must first consider alternative options within the $16 billion budget, rather than pursuing a fruitless state income tax increase that will most certainly hurt Utah’s economy.

Read More in our Public Policy Brief