House OKs bill giving college students 5 percent tax credit
Salt Lake Tribune
February 14, 2009
By Robert Gehrke
Students in Utah's public colleges and universities would get a 5 percent tax credit for the cost of their tuition and fees under a bill that passed the House on Friday.
Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, said the state should be making it easier for Utahns to attend college and to help the economic recovery.
"We have a struggling economy," Dougall said. "We need the best and brightest minds in Utah to help with that economy. What this bill tries to do is reward them or incentivize them to stay in Utah and help drive that economy."
HB35 has the backing of the state Board of Regents.
Rep. Merlynn Newbold, R-South Jordan, attempted to amend the bill to allow students attending Brigham Young University, Westminster College and other private schools to take advantage of the credit, but the effort failed.
The bill is expected to cost $2.2 million next year. But as tuition prices and enrollment grow, the tab is expected to balloon to $461 million by 2035.
Rep. Tim Cosgrove, D-Murray, said it would make more sense to invest that money in Utah's colleges and universities to lower the cost of tuition for everyone.
The measure now goes to the Senate.