Utah Financial Forecasting and Planning: Overcoming Volatility

Written by: Christopher Collard

Utah was recently recognized in a Pew Charitable Trusts report for exemplary budgeting practices. Namely, Utah does a good job at forecasting tax revenue and dealing with revenue volatility. A key difficulty in the budgeting process lies in forecasting tax revenue: Business cycles are unpredictable and have a large effect on the amount of money the state collects through taxes. Recessions decrease revenue from sales tax and income tax. Swings in specific industries can have … Continued

Slides from our 2014 Annual Meeting: Higher Education and Utah’s Economic Growth

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Utah Foundation thanks the generous sponsors that made the 2014 Annual Meeting possible: Fidelity Investments, Love Communications, Salt Lake Community College, Utah Education Savings Plan, Utah System of Higher Education, and Utah Valley University Foundation. We appreciate the wonderful presentations from great speakers. Several attendees have asked for the presenters’ slides, which are included below. President Stephen Hershey Kroes – Utah’s Unique Education Challenges & Opportunities [visual presentation not presented at meeting] First Panel: Higher … Continued

Good News in Utah’s Reading and Math Scores

Written by: Stephen Hershey Kroes

In the past decade, we’ve written many times about the challenges facing our education system, describing Utah’s declining funding effort for schools while our rankings fell against other states in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). But today, we have good news to report! Utah has seen a noteworthy jump in reading scores in the latest figures (from 2013) and some recent increases in math scores. Take a look at Utah’s NAEP scores and … Continued

Rising Back up the Ranks in Higher Ed

Written by: Mallory Bateman

With the close of the 2014 legislative session, there were some positive outcomes for higher education in the state. A recent Salt Lake Tribune article called it the “best year at the Utah Legislature since the recession hit” for higher education. With a goal of 66% of Utahns having postsecondary certificates or degrees, it is important for higher education to receive support on all fronts. In preparation for our Utah Foundation annual meeting on March … Continued

Simpson’s Paradox and the Trickiness of Statistics

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Data are everywhere. They are used to inform, they are used to make statistical arguments for one thing and against another, and much, much more. But they are tricky. Mark Twain is quoted as saying that “facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” That pliability allows them to be used in tricky ways, both intentionally and unintentionally. One tricky thing to keep an eye out for is Simpson’s Paradox. Simpson’s paradox occurs when you … Continued