This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
When Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, found out how much his son's teacher was spending of her own money on classroom supplies, he decided to do something about it.
His HB207 (first substitute) to give teachers a maximum $50 tax credit for personal money they spend on supplies passed the House with a vote of 48-24. It now goes to the Senate.
"Importantly, it is a small recognition for some of the personal sacrifices our teachers make in the classroom on behalf of our children," said Eliason.
The bill would also require the Utah State Office of Education to conduct a study to find out how much the average teacher is spending out-of-pocket so the tax credit could be adjusted in the future.
Lawmakers voiced a few concerns about the bill.
"This is the least transparent appropriation that we may make in the entire session," said Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton. Instead of directing a targeted budget item, he says the bill provides, 'Here's the money directly toward your check account, and you make the decision for us.'"
Others voiced concerns that a simple $50 tax credit isn't enough, and if Utah wants to take care of its teachers it should pay them more.