In this edition of Utah Thrives, Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard and Vice President Shawn Teigen are joined by Julianne Basinger and Nick Schou of Western Resource Advocates in a discussion of climate challenges. The conversation also explores the new Utah Foundation report, Going for the Green: How Utah Can Thrive in the New Climate Economy.
It’s when your throat is parched and you’ve been baking in the hot sun that you most appreciate a glass of cool, clear water. We appear to be in such a moment at a statewide level. As of May 1, the 2020-21 winter snowpack in most of the state’s measured basins was well below median, and in some cases less than half of the median level. While one bad year may not plunge the whole … Continued
The U.S. economy took a significant hit due to the pandemic and economic shutdown in 2020. Businesses let go of employees and reduced hours; the unemployment rate peaked in April 2020, reaching an astounding 14.4% in the U.S. and 9.7% in Utah. To stimulate the economy and aid households, the federal government introduced a variety of financial resources, including stimulus checks. Beginning in early 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed Americans nine times over a … Continued
A little over two decades ago, I learned how lucrative the pharmaceutical industry could be. The father of a friend of mine, who was nearing retirement after a career with a drug company, was discussing how nice their recent company picnic had been. He went on to mention that they brought in a well-known band to play the event. The band? U2. At a company picnic. That’s what giant profit margins can do for you. … Continued
Four Mountain States ended the year atop the nation in personal income growth. Arizona and Montana experienced an increase of 7.1% in personal income, Utah ranked third in the country with a 6.9% increase, followed by Idaho with a 6.8% annual increase. One Mountain State – Wyoming – was at the very bottom of the nation, but still saw an increase (1.1%). Most of the personal income growth came from government transfers. However, Utah ranked … Continued
Every four years, as part of our Utah Priorities Project, the Utah Foundation surveys the people of this state to determine their greatest concerns. This information helps drive the priorities of policymakers and civic leaders. In both 2016 and 2020, Utahns told us that their top concern was health care costs and access. The past year in particular has highlighted the great importance of our health care services and infrastructure. But it has also brought forth … Continued
As many people know, Utah has been last in the nation for decades in per pupil spending on education, trailing Arizona and Idaho. No longer. Utah Foundation staff had expected the state to pull ahead of Idaho at some point during the past four years. It has finally happened with the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data released today. The Utah Foundation prefers the measure of education spending effort – or the amount spent on education … Continued
The Utah Foundation recently produced a brief on housing affordability as concerns in Utah have become increasingly acute. In this edition of Utah Thrives, Utah Foundation Senior Analyst Christopher Collard, President Peter Reichard and Vice President / Research Director Shawn Teigen discuss what they’ve been learning as they dig in on the housing cost issue.
Utah has joined about a dozen states in exploring a new kind of revenue for road maintenance that charges drivers for miles driven, rather than fuel consumed. While many states have conducted research and pilot projects on road usage charges, Utah and Oregon are the only two states with currently operating programs. The Utah Foundation’s recent report Measuring the Miles: Road Usage Charges in Utah examines the broader movement toward road usage charges among the states; how … Continued
Concerns about housing affordability in Utah have become acute, to say the least. In Utah Foundation surveys dating back to 2008, housing affordability had never been a top-10 issue. That changed in 2020. In an initial Utah Priorities survey before the economic shutdown, we found that housing affordability had surged to become the second most important issue. In a new survey several months later, it remained in the top 10, even after the pandemic crisis … Continued