Utah Thrives (Podcast of Utah Foundation)

Utah Thrives – Voter Participation

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah once had one of the highest rates of voter participation in the country, but today it’s dropped to 39th among the states. Utah Foundation has been studying the issue of voter turnout for quite a while, and a new research brief shows the situation isn’t improving. In this edition of Utah Thrives, Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard and Vice-President Shawn Teigen offer their thoughts on the factors associated with low participation, including uncompetitive elections. … Continued

Utah Thrives — Microgrids

Written by: Dan Bammes

We often think of electric power systems as regional in scale — a huge grid of high-voltage power lines connecting dams, power plants and substations to industry and homes across a wide area. That’s how they have evolved over the past century or more. But the idea of smaller, independent power systems that become components of the larger grid while serving their own communities is also becoming current. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we … Continued

Utah Thrives – New Leadership at Utah Foundation

Written by: Dan Bammes

Here at Utah Foundation, we’re typically focused outwards on the issues we study and the research we publish. But this summer we’re in a leadership transition. Steve Kroes is leaving his position as president of Utah Foundation after 16 years, and Peter Reichard is coming in as our new president after 15 years as research director of the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans.

Utah Thrives — Training a Skilled Workforce

Written by: Dan Bammes

The focus of education in Utah seems to be pushing students to graduate from high school and move on to academic degree programs. But many businesses in Utah are having difficulty finding workers with the right skills to fill open positions. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we look at programs being developed in Utah’s colleges and by business groups to help match up students with opportunities — and jobs that sometimes go begging. We … Continued

Utah Thrives: Coal Ash — Waste or Resource?

Written by: Dan Bammes

Coal-fired power plants have to deal with one problem that won’t go away — the ash left over from burning their fuel. It’s typically put in ponds and piles near the plants, where it poses a risk of environmental contamination to nearby rivers and streams. But the news about coal ash is not all bad. It contains, among other things, concentrations of rare-earth elements that could turn it into a resource. In this edition of … Continued

Utah Thrives: Taxing Online Commerce

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah is one of several states working to find a way to tax the millions of dollars its residents spend buying things online. Of several different legal strategies, the approach being taken in South Dakota appears to be leading the way, at least until Congress chooses to act on the issue. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we hear from Utah State Senator Curt Bramble, Overstock.com executive Jonathan Johnson, Holladay City Council member Steve Gunn … Continued

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

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

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

Utah Thrives — Crime

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah voters rated crime as the #7 issue of concern in this year’s Utah Priorities Project. A research brief from Utah Foundation shows that rates for most crime have been going down both in Utah and across the nation. But there’s serious concern about the way police officers relate to the communities they serve – and about the large numbers of offenders incarcerated in both prisons and local jails. In this edition of Utah Thrives, … Continued