Utah Thrives: Education Funding

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah Foundation published a report in November, 2016 looking closely at the evolution of funding for Utah’s public schools over the past 20 years. Getting By with Less: Two Decades of K-12 Education Revenue and Spending pointed out that changes in the state’s tax structure over time had resulted in a net funding shortfall of more than $1.2 billion annually in spite of recent allocations of funding meant to keep pace with enrollment growth and … Continued

Looking Back at Utah Foundation Research in 2016

Written by: Dan Bammes

Maybe there’s enough time in these final days of 2016 to catch our breath. We’re looking back at Utah Foundation’s research reports as well as the Utah Priorities Project. A monumental election season has concluded, with a challenging session of Utah’s legislature just ahead. Here’s our ranking of the top ten research findings of the past year, along with links to a report or research brief on each. 1 Only half of new education funds go … Continued

Utah Thrives: Healthcare

Written by: Dan Bammes

Healthcare was the #1 issue identified in Utah Foundation’s statewide survey of voters. It was 4th on the top ten list in 2012, but current political debates and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act have helped to push it to the top of the list in 2016. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we’ll hear from some top thought leaders in the healthcare field, including Dr. Vivian Lee, Senior Vice-President for Health Sciences at … Continued

Priority #11: States’ Rights

Written by: Christopher Collard

This post concludes our blog series on concerns that many Utah voters expressed in our survey that didn’t make the cut for our top ten list. The debate on the division of powers between states and the federal government is in many ways the essence of American politics since the proposal of the U.S. Constitution. The disagreement between the Hamilton Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans carries on today in a number of issues important to Utahns. While … Continued

Priority #12: Public Lands

Written by: Christopher Collard

One national issue unique to the West is that of public lands. Utah, in many ways, has been at the forefront of that issue. Nearly half of all the land in the western United States is owned by the federal government. In Utah it is just under two-thirds. In fact, Utah is second only to Nevada in the share of land owned by the federal government (although Idaho and Alaska are close). Utah is one … Continued

Priority #13: Energy

Written by: Christopher Collard

There is certainly a lot of discussion in the state about energy. For example, Utah is seeing historic installation rates of residential rooftop solar arrays, and the Utah Legislature is considering whether to end state solar tax credits early. Additionally, Rocky Mountain Power has a new solar array coming on line from which consumers can purchase blocks of renewable energy. However, the energy topic in the Utah Priorities Survey goes beyond electricity generation to include … Continued

Utah Thrives: Water Quality

Written by: Dan Bammes

Water supply and quality were ranked in 6th place on the Utah Priorities Project top ten list. In this edition of Utah Thrives, Dan Bammes talks with Walt Baker, the director of the Utah Division of Water Quality and with Gene Shawcroft, the CEO of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District about some of the big picture issues of maintaining a water supply sufficient for Utah’s future growth and to maintain critical ecosystems such as … Continued

Priority #14: Immigration

Written by: Christopher Collard

This post continues our blog series on concerns that many Utah voters expressed in our Utah Priorities Project survey that didn’t make the cut for our top ten list. While immigration did not land on Utah voters’ top ten list of concerns, it has been a top issue (4th place) for Americans during this past election cycle.1 No doubt that its importance in the minds of Americans is related to Donald Trump’s strong position on … Continued

Priority #15: Religion in Politics

Written by: Christopher Collard

This post continues our blog series on concerns that many Utah voters expressed in our survey that didn’t make the cut for our top ten list. Utah is a unique place. Some of what makes it unique – being very Republican, being young, and having strict liquor laws – stem from one fact: around 60% of Utahns identify as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).1 There are no comparable … Continued

Poverty, the new poverty data, and definitions

Written by: Shawn Teigen

U.S. Census poverty data for 2015 were released this week. Utah Foundation has particular interest in poverty since it was part of the 2016 Utah Priorities Project. Homelessness and poverty was the 9th most important issue to voters in 2016. These issues are closely linked in that poverty is cited as one of the major reasons of homelessness, particularly when it is experienced in conjunction with unaffordable housing situations, losing a job, or experiencing a … Continued