Utah lawmaker: Let’s use booze profit for schools

10 January 2013 Published in What's New?

That next bottle of wine or case of beer could help Johnny and Sally learn math if Rep. Jim Bird succeeds in passing a unique education funding proposal. “What we’re doing is taking 10 percent of the gross profit [from liquor sales] and earmarking it for public education,” said Bird, R-West Jordan, describing a bill he will run in the upcoming legislative session.

When Bird ran a similar bill last year, it was estimated that it would direct $31 million to Utah schools. The bill barely made it through committee and was not voted on by the full House.

Now, because of increasing sales, he says the amount dedicated would be closer to $37 million. It would not be a net tax increase, so the money would have to come out of the revenues that fund other areas of state government.

That is a problem for Allison Rowland, director of research and budget for the group Voices for Utah Children, because it would mean cutting programs that Utahns depend on that were already pared back during the recession.