During next month’s election, Utahns will be able to either support or oppose a new gas tax. Utah Senator Lyle Hillyard said if the question receives high voter support, there will likely be legislation to implement the increase during the 2019 session.
Non-binding Opinion Question One will ask Utah voters if they support raising the gas tax 10 cents. This increase would create more gas tax revenue to go towards roads and free-up general fund money for education.
The non-binding opinion part means Utahns aren’t directly voting on whether or not to implement the tax increase, but whether or not they would support the legislature in raising the tax.
“I certainly support putting the issue on the ballot and letting the people of Utah decide,” said Lyle Hillyard who represents Cache and Rich counties in the Utah Senate. “I personally have not taken a position, or do I intend to take a public position on this. There’s some issues both ways.”
As a legislator, Hillyard said he will follow the consensus of the people on the opinion question.
Earlier this week, Utah State University president Noelle Cockett emailed students and faculty expressing her support for question one. Attached to her email was a letter signed by presidents of other high education institutions in the state, including the University of Utah and Salt Lake Community College, explaining why they collectively support the proposal.
“I think that is absolutely proper for them to do,” Hillyard said. “They stand to benefit from it. I think just like public education will probably endorse it as well. Those who may be concerned about a tax increase I think may oppose it. I think that is really part of the American system.”
On October 11 there will be a town hall meeting in Logan to discuss the implications of the 10 cent tax increase. Attendees will be able to ask questions and learn more about supporting and opposing views on the question. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at 59 S 100 W.