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UEA SEEKS TO OVERTURN SPENDING-LIMITATION LAW

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Utah Education Association officials said Thursday they will file a lawsuit in 3rd District Court seeking to overturn the state spending-limitation law passed earlier this year.

The teachers union is concerned that the law, which limits new state spending to natural growth in population and inflation, will prohibit legislators in January from pumping hundreds of millions of surplus dollars into education.The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the limitation law in the January 1989 session in part as a response to the tax-limitation movement.

A few legislators warned then that the law, which can be amended by a majority vote or overridden with a two-thirds vote, could restrict the ability of future legislatures to deal with education and other issues.

But the majority of lawmakers said that is exactly what they wanted to do - restrict spending.

However, this year's tax revenues are above estimates. Meeting in monthly committees Wednesday, lawmakers were told that there is a $120 million surplus from last year, an estimated $56 million in ongoing surplus this year and an estimated $100 million in growth for 1990-91.

Clearly, GOP leaders say, that much money can't be spent and remain within the spending-limitation law. They're already talking about amending the law. Now the UEA wants the law declared unconstitutional so legislators won't have to deal with it at all.