2015 Legislative Survey Results

1. Medicaid Expansion

There has been a lot of discussion about the Governor’s proposed Healthy Utah plan. This is a proposal to expand Medicaid coverage to anyone making less than 138% of the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL). Proponents of the plan point to the expanded coverage for individuals who currently do not have any health insurance and that the federal government is supposed to pay for up to 90% of the cost. Opponents to the proposal point out that the cost to the state of Utah will be an estimated $90 Million per year in new money by the year 2020. Opponents also point out that other states that have tried similar plans, i.e. Arkansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania have all experienced much higher costs that were estimated. In your opinion should the Utah State Legislature:

Responses Answer Options
19.2% Go along with the Governor and fund the Healthy Utah Plan
33.6% Try to cover a smaller portion of those without health insurance who are considered “medically frail” at a cost to the state of $15-30 Million per year.
47.2% Stay where we are now and not expand Medicaid in any way.

2. Daylight Savings Time

Whether to keep Daylight Savings Time or do away with it has been a controversial topic for some time.  Proponents of doing away with Daylight Savings and going to the Arizona model point out that it is bothersome to have to change time twice a year.  Opponents of doing away with Daylight Savings point to the opportunities to have more daylight hours in the evenings for farming, ranching, recreation, etc.  They also point out that the sun would begin to come up before 5 AM in some of the summer months.  In your opinion should Utah:

Responses Answer Options
30.4% Keep Daylight Savings Time as it is now
55.7% Do away with Daylight Savings Time and go to the Arizona model
13.9% Keep Daylight Savings Time year round

3. Gas Tax

A big question this year in the legislature will be what to do with the gas tax. Because our gas tax is a fixed cents per gallon tax, the amount of revenue that the state brings in each year has decreased. We are driving more fuel efficient cars leading to less gas sold which leads to less money for road construction, maintenance and repair. The local counties, cities and towns have seen a significant decrease in the amount of money they receive from the gas tax. This has led many rural roads in desperate need of repair but insufficient funds to provide this repair. A number of proposals have been put out by various legislators and interested parties. In your opinion should the state of Utah:

Responses Answer Options
35.8% Do nothing and leave the gas tax the way it is.
14.2% Keep the same formulas but raise the gas tax 5 to 10 cents per gallon
18.1% Change a small portion of the gas tax from a flat cents per gallon to a sales tax which would be revenue neutral to begin with but over time increase the amount of money coming in for road repair as the price of gas goes up.
7.3% Index the gas tax to the cost of living which would mean that the gas tax would automatically increase almost every year.
24.6% Allow counties to implement a “local option gas tax” that would keep the money raised within that county.

4. Natural Gas Vehicles

Another question that has come up concerning gas tax pertains to natural gas and electric vehicles. These vehicles do not pay the gas tax like regular gasoline vehicles do. There is some tax on the natural gas but it is much less than regular gasoline. In your opinion which of the following options should the state of Utah implement:

Responses Answer Options
32.8% Leave it the way it is now with no increase to natural gas and electric vehicles
6.8% Charge a tax when a natural gas or electric vehicle is purchased
15.7% Charge a higher registration fee each year for a natural gas or electric vehicle
44.7% A combination of B and C

5. Lake Powell Pipeline

Water development is critical to the long-term growth and prosperity of Utah and especially Southern Utah. A hot topic has been whether or not to build the Lake Powell Pipeline. In order to construct the pipeline the state would have to originally bond for the pipeline and then the water users over time would pay off the bond. There have been proposals to earmark a portion of the growth in sales tax for water development. The pipeline is not the only proposed water project needed in the state. There are numerous large water projects that need to be funded over the next 20-30 years throughout the state. In your opinion should the state of Utah find a way to bond for these projects and let the water users pay back the bonds with the state guaranteeing the bonds:

Responses Answer Options
64.6% Yes
35.4% No

6. Budget Surplus

It appears that the legislature will have a budget surplus to use in the upcoming legislative session.  A significant portion of this surplus is in the education fund which has led to a lot of discussions as to how best to spend this money.  Please select your top three choices from the following list as to how these education monies should be spent:

Responses Answer Options
40.3% Increase the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) which is the basic funding mechanism for schools. How much of this increase would go to increasing teacher salaries would be up to the local districts.
10.2% Use some of the surplus to provide electronic devices for students.
53.5% Decrease class sizes
37.2% Put funds into directly increasing teacher compensation
54.0% Enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) training especially for high school students
15.9% Provide resources to help students prepare to take SAT, ACT and AP tests
33.6% Provide more opportunities for students to take concurrent enrollment college classes for college credit

7. Education Funding

In Utah, funding for public education comes from the income tax.  Which of the following would you like the Utah Legislature to consider regarding education funding?

Responses Answer Options
3.4% Raise income taxes.
28.9% Focus on increasing transparency and accountability before more money is appropriated to education.
42.2% Pursue greater control over Federal lands in our state in order to obtain additional revenues that would be used in part to help fund education.
25.4% Create policies that lead to more job creation resulting in more income tax to fund education.

8. SB54 Count My Vote

It was recently discovered that the 2016 deadline set forth in SB 54, the compromise reached by Count My Vote and the legislature, will make it difficult for political parties to comply with the new law.  Candidates risk having their party identification removed from the ballot if their party is unable to implement the required legal changes before the deadline.  Do you support extending the time frame for SB 54 to take effect in order for political parties to implement the changes required by law?

Responses Answer Options
47.4% Yes
20.5% No
32.1% Undecided

9. Anti-Discrimination Bill

An anti-discrimination bill has been proposed that would outlaw housing and employment discrimination based on sexual identity and orientation across the state of Utah.  Regarding this bill, would you consider yourself to be:

Responses Answer Options
10.6% Strongly supportive
21.7% Supportive
20.9% Neutral
19.1% Opposed
27.7% Strongly Opposed

 

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