Coal under fire, but plays strong role in Utah for power: Report

March 24, 2017 (Topix.com) - The continued political and economic pressure on coal production in Utah and around the United States drove the Utah Foundation to examine the issue in a series of three reports, the first of which was released Wednesday. Among the top observations in the first installment are the close relationships at play between lower electricity prices and coal rich states – such as Utah – and the uncertainty that persists over the viability of coal-fired power … Continued

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Utah Foundation searching for new president

March 23, 2017 (UtahPulse.com) - After 15 years at the helm of Utah Foundation, Steve Kroes is moving on to new opportunities in his home state of California. The Utah Foundation Board of Trustees is ready to interview candidates for his position. The president is responsible for ensuring the highest quality in Utah Foundation’s research, communications, government and community relations. S/he must also be committed to rigorous fundraising and donor relations effort, devoting significant energies to raising the revenue need … Continued

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Utah Foundation analyzes coal energy, production & the future

March 23, 2017 (UtahPulse.com) - Most coal consumption in the United States is for electricity generation. However, coal-fueled electricity’s share of the total has been decreasing. This is due in large part to the availability of low-cost natural gas, stringent environmental regulations that affect coal-fueled power plants, and favorable tax treatment for renewable technologies. Coal-fueled power plants have been closing and others are reducing their total output. As a result, coal production is also decreasing. Utah is one of only six states that gets … Continued

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Coal under fire, but plays strong role in Utah for power: Report

March 23, 2017 (KSL.com) - The continued political and economic pressure on coal production in Utah and around the United States drove the Utah Foundation to examine the issue in a series of three reports, the first of which was released Wednesday. Among the top observations in the first installment are the close relationships at play between lower electricity prices and coal rich states — such as Utah — and the uncertainty that persists over the viability of coal-fired power … Continued

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Report: Coal under fire, but it plays strong role in Utah, U.S. for power

March 22, 2017 (Deseret News) - The continued political and economic pressure on coal production in Utah and around the United States drove the Utah Foundation to examine the issue in a series of three reports, the first of which was released Wednesday. Among the top observations in the first installment are the close relationships at play between lower electricity prices and coal rich states — such as Utah — and the uncertainty that persists over the viability of coal-fired power … Continued

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Low tax burden is great – but more money needed for education

March 20, 2017 (UtahPulse.com) - In Utah, conservative thought flourishes, and the tax burden has declined over the last two decades. The Utah Foundation has noted that state taxes in Utah are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years. The Tax Foundation recently ranked Utah the ninth best state in state business tax climate, and a low 41st in state and local tax collections per capita. It will always be true that more needs exist than we can take care … Continued

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Our Schools Now to move forward

March 20, 2017 (Spectrum) - Utah has gradually seen its investment in public education erode over the years, thanks to a series of tax cuts and rule changes, especially a mid-90s reform to property tax assessments and the virtual elimination of income tax brackets in 2007. In 1995 Utah ranked 7th in the nation in education funding when measured as a percentage of earned income, but by 2015 it had fallen to 37th place, according to an analysis by the … Continued

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Road to Understanding: Education, public lands major issues discussed at town hall

March 20, 2017 (KSL.com) - State officials, county leaders, educators, business owners were among a group who got together Monday night to talk about concerns impacting communities all around Utah. The town hall meeting took place at the original Territorial Statehouse in Fillmore and lasted about an hour and a half. People who attended the meeting raised concerns about clean air, better salaries for teachers, public lands, growth and economic hardships.

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Rolly: Some religious liberties are not as sacred as others in the Utah Legislature

March 21, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) - While the Legislature was dealing with a series of alcohol-related bills this session, the Utah Foundation found in its archives a study on Utah alcohol laws and reform efforts in 1949. It seems the tinkering to make things better never stops. During the campaign for governor in 1948 between Democratic incumbent Herbert Maw and Republican challenger J. Bracken Lee, the management of Utah’s state liquor monopoly was a major issue. At one time, the liquor … Continued

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Fresh Tracks Rail, roads and a highly educated workforce have helped make Utah a tech and finance hub.

March 08, 2017 (US News) - Challenges do lay ahead: Residents consume large amounts of energy and water, a particular concern in the high desert. Salt Lake County, largely encircled by mountains, faces perennial air-quality problems, which some policy experts say the state has been slow to address, particularly in light of its opposition at the national level to stricter federal clean air regulations. And the sales and gas taxes approved by voters and the legislature – including a gas tax … Continued

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Education advocates push for ballot initiative

March 01, 2017 (St. George News) - Our Schools Now is planning to gather signatures for a ballot initiative in 2018 that, if passed, would raise state income tax .008 percent, from 5 percent to 5.875 percent. The measure would raise an extra $750 million each year which would go directly to education, giving Utah schools about $1,000 more per student. According to the Utah Foundation, Utah’s K-12 education funding has fallen from seventh to 37th in the nation over the past … Continued

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Our Schools Now: 2018 Ballot Quickest Way To Pass Reforms

February 28, 2017 (Utah Public Radio) - The Our Schools Now initiative would allow local schools to have a say in how the money that is generated through the initiative is spent. New funds would be required to be used in ways that improve student learning. Research from the Utah Foundation estimates that $1.2 billion in education spending has disappeared over the last 20 years.

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Details emerge on Our Schools Now

February 27, 2017 (The Spectrum) - An analysis published by the Utah Foundation, a nonpartisan research group based in Salt Lake City, suggested the state has dramatically cut its investment in education over the past 20 years through a series of tax cuts and rule changes, especially a mid-90s reform to property tax assessments and legislation in 2007 that essentially eliminated tax income brackets where higher-income earners would pay higher rates. In 1995 Utah ranked 7th in the nation in education … Continued

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Op-ed: Raise taxes on top earners for desperately needed school dollars

February 20, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) - For decades, Utah legislators have ignored responsible funding for our schools. Not only have the politicians failed to keep current, but the state is actually moving backwards. The Legislature and the governor are spending significantly less on education now, on a per $1,000 personal income, than over the past two decades. The sad truth is that our deadbeat parent state is falling further behind on its education commitments. Over the last 20 years, lawmakers have … Continued

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Dismal pay forces Utah teachers to take 2nd jobs to support families

February 14, 2017 (KSL.com) - According to the State Office of Education, 40 percent of newly hired teachers quit within the first five years. And about 1,000 veteran teachers retire each year. As a result, Utah Foundation reports, half of Utah districts have non-certified teachers in our children’s classes. “I think we understand the risk of having teachers who aren’t well-qualified teaching our kids,” said state auditor John Dougall. He heard about a teacher shortage and commissioned a report to … Continued

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Lawmakers take aim at proposal to hike income taxes for public schools

February 03, 2017 (UtahPolicy.com) - We are in last place nationally in per-student spending. And a new Utah Foundation study shows that the state is down $1.2 billion a year in funding, compared to what we would have been had not any number of personal income tax “reforms” taken place over the last 20 years. An increase in the tax rate from 5 percent to 5.875 percent would bring in an extra $750 million a year to public schools. And … Continued

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Letter: Common-sense consensus

January 31, 2017 (Deseret News) - Legislators also like to pat themselves on the back for increases to the education budget. But that doesn’t deduct the cost of inflation or new student growth. The Utah Foundation said that the majority of recent funding has simply gone to maintain existing needs and not provide new tools to our children. Instead of searching for reasons to not support Utah teachers and students, lawmakers need to work together and find some common-sense consensus. The … Continued

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Jay Evensen: Has Utah outgrown a part-time Legislature?

January 24, 2017 (Deseret News) - Earlier this month I asked Steve Kroes, president of the nonpartisan Utah Foundation, the same question. He was a little less certain about the future, but still a fan of the current system. The downside to Utah’s system, he said, is that “it tends to be privileged people who can serve.” Not many typical workers can take 45 days off each year to serve on Capitol Hill, not to mention regular interim meetings and special … Continued

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Opening of the State Legislature On Monday’s Access Utah

January 23, 2017 (Utah Public Radio) - We’ll put your questions to Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, House Minority Leader Brian King, Senator Ralph Okerlund, and Rep. Val Potter R-North Logan. We’ll also feature conversations with Bill Tibbitts, Associate Director of the Crossroads Urban Center, and Director of the Center’s Coalition of Religious Communities; Shawn Teigen, Research Director at the Utah Foundation; and Boyd Matheson, President of the Sutherland Institute.

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The price of knowledge: Utah continues to wrestle with thorny school-funding issues

January 21, 2017 (Herald-Journal) - Utah businesses leaders agree. In November, Our Schools Now — a collection of executives from the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Zion’s Bank, Questar, Inovar, Rocky Mountain Power, the Salt Lake Chamber, former legislators and school administrators — proposed a 2018 ballot initiative that would raise the income tax from 5 percent to 5.875 percent, an increase of 17.5 percent in what Utahns would pay. This would bring in an estimated $750 million annually … Continued

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Food tax, curtailing tax breaks floated as ‘Our Schools Now’ alternatives

January 19, 2017 (Spectrum) - The gap has been widening over the past two decades, with funding for education impacted by a series of tax cuts and rule changes over the years, especially mid-90s reform to property tax assessments and legislation in 2007 that essentially eliminated income tax brackets. An analysis published by the Utah Foundation, a nonpartisan research group, suggested the state has dramatically cut its investment in education over the past 20 years. In 1995 Utah ranked 7th … Continued

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Poll Shows Support for Tax Hike to Boost School Funding is Dropping

January 18, 2017 (UtahPolicy.com) - OSN is headed by some pretty politically savvy folks, like Nolan Karras, a former GOP speaker of the Utah House and a finalist in the 2004 Republican Party gubernatorial primary. In an interview with UtahPolicy Managing Editor Bryan Schott, Karras says his group is not fighting against anyone, nor any institution – like the Legislature he once led. But, pointing to a new Utah Foundation study, Karras says while public schools have gotten more money … Continued

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Utahns Say Improving Education is Top Priority for 2017 Legislature

January 17, 2017 (UtahPolicy.com) - So our underfunded schools, with teacher pay and resources a real issue, are doing pretty well as is. But [Our Schools Now] says without concrete funding hikes, teachers will continue to quit the profession and Utah will fall behind the nation in quality education for our children. As it stands just one week before the 45-day general session starts, the state has a bit more than $200 million more from the income tax (which all … Continued

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Jay Evensen: Utah Foundation director steps down, talks about Utah’s future

January 12, 2017 (Deseret News) - Stephen Kroes, the longtime president of the foundation, told me Wednesday he is retiring, effective in July. He will return to Sacramento, from whence he came to Utah in 2001, and will begin his own consulting practice. He is doing this for a number of reasons, including family considerations. One thing is certain. The foundation’s board of trustees must find someone just as capable to keep the 72-year-old institution a respected source for facts that … Continued

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‘Our Schools Now’ say Tax Hike is Needed Because Lawmakers Lack Political Will to Adequately Fund Utah’s Schools

January 10, 2017 (UtahPolicy.com) - The backers of a proposal to put an income tax hike on the 2018 ballot in order to raise money for Utah’s schools say they’re tired of waiting for lawmakers to act. “We would welcome legislators to do it. They can do it more surgically and do it in a better way than a ballot initiative,” says former Utah House Speaker Nolan Karras. “We’ve been working for the last four or five years on this, … Continued

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