Utah Thrives (Podcast of Utah Foundation)

Utah Thrives – Generic Drugs

Written by: Dan Bammes

Voters across the state of Utah identified healthcare – and healthcare costs – as their top concern in Utah Foundation’s 2016 Utah Priorities Project. Increasingly expensive drugs have helped to push the overall cost higher. Unscrupulous companies that have cornered the market for some important generic drugs and dramatically raised their prices has only made the situation more complicated. In January, the CEO of Intermountain Healthcare announced a joint effort by several non-profit hospital systems … Continued

Utah Thrives – Education Roadmap

Written by: Dan Bammes

For the past several years, the Governor’s Education Excellence Commission has been working on a long-term plan for education in Utah, starting with pre-school and continuing through college. With its publication at the end of November, Governor Gary Herbert outlined a series of goals to guide legislators, school board members and other decision makers in policy decisions over the next ten years. At a Utah Foundation event in December, Governor Herbert’s education deputy, Tami Pyfer, … Continued

Utah Thrives – Technical Education

Written by: Dan Bammes

As he announced his budget proposal for the coming year, Governor Gary Herbert proclaimed 2018 the Year of Technical Education in Utah. He set the goal of leading the nation in the number of students completing a high-quality technical education. His budget proposal includes more than nine million dollars in new funding for the institutions that provide it. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we hear from the head of Utah’s System of Technical Colleges, … Continued

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