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

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

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

Priority #17: Higher Ed

Written by: Shawn Teigen

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. Higher education ranked 17th on 2016’s Utah Priorities Project. That ranking came from the main survey question which asked about respondents’ level of concern about “higher education – that is colleges and universities.” About one in five respondents were “very concerned,” which is a “5” on the 1- to 5-point scale. … Continued

Utah Thrives — Haven Barlow Looks Back

Written by: Dan Bammes

Partisan politics – the seemingly irreconcilable conflicts between political leaders that seem to characterize all our public discourse – has been a significant concern for voters the last two times Utah Foundation has conducted the Utah Priorities Project. Voters placed it at Number 8 on the top ten list in 2012 and put it again in 8th place in 2016. Yet it wasn’t so long ago that cooperation between officeholders in Utah’s legislature and elsewhere … Continued

Priority #19: Utah’s Increasing Population

Written by: Mallory Bateman

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. In the mid-2000s, Utah cities began emerging as some of the fastest growing places in the country. This contributed to “dealing with growth in Utah” being ranked 8th in 2004. By 2008, it had dropped to the 10th spot, 2010 saw the topic fall out of the top 10 and by … Continued