Lawmakers craft school funding deal to end ballot initiative

FILE - Utah House of Representatives are shown on the floor at the Utah State Capitol Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers are working on a deal that would raise gas taxes and send more money to schools in order to stop a ballot initiative that would hike sales and income tax rates.

A bill unveiled Tuesday afternoon would ask voters in November to raise gas taxes by 10 cents a gallon.

Legislative leaders say that combined with a freeze on statewide property taxes would boost education spending by $375 million. They say raising gas taxes is better than hiking sales and income taxes because that could discourage businesses from moving to Utah.

Gov. Gary Herbert supports the deal and says he’s talking with organizers of the Our Schools Now initiative to see if they’re willing to end their effort that would boost education funding by $715 million.

Our Schools Now organizers did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

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