Are Utah’s Local Governments Optimizing their Use of Tax Incentives? In this edition of Utah Thrives, we discuss the findings of Utah Foundation’s December 2020 report, Insights on Incentives: Optimizing Local Approaches to Tax Incentives in Utah.
It looked like a stroke of genius. Back in the 1950s, California officials, looking to fund economic development projects under tight budget constraints, created a mechanism known as tax increment financing, or TIF. The idea was to pledge new (or incremental) tax revenue generated from a project to make the project itself possible. It would be a clean win for the public, because the only money to be spent would be money that would not … Continued
In November, Utah Foundation held a Breakfast Briefing on the topic of homelessness, sponsored by the University of Utah’s College of Social and Behavioral Science. Our panel of experts featured: Tricia Davis, of the Utah Homelessness Programs Office Utah Representative Eric Hutchings Dr. Jeff Rose, of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah Dr. Jesús N. Valero, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah The … Continued
Interest rates are at historic lows, Utah’s AAA bond rating is still going strong, and we have significant bonding capacity, even within the state’s tight statutory and constitutional constraints. Under normal circumstances, these factors alone would make this an advantageous time to consider a bonding program for infrastructure. But with Utah and its local governments exploring options for economic stimulus, a strong case can be made for focusing efforts on infrastructure. Investments in infrastructure protect … Continued
Back when I attended journalism school in the early 1990s, we were frequently exhorted to “find the drama” in whatever we were covering. Drama sold papers, and if you wanted your precious byline on the exalted front page, you needed to write stories that elevated conflict and emotion. Even in my youthful ambition, I felt vaguely uneasy with this approach, seeing at times that journalists were exploiting their subjects, their audience or both. Cloaking the … Continued
Last year, Utah Foundation published a report called Making the Grade? K-12 Outcomes and Spending in Utah, which wrestled with this question. The report found that, while Utah spends far less per pupil than peer states with student profiles similar to Utah’s, it performs respectably in terms of outcomes. And while higher-spending states tend to outperform the rest of the states, Utah outperforms higher-spending states collectively on several measures. In short, higher spending has only … Continued
When Clayton Christensen passed away at the beginning of this year, Utah lost one of its most prominent sons. The Harvard business professor had become, as one observer put it, the “the most influential management thinker of his time” and his theory of “disruptive innovation” perhaps the most influential business idea. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we hear about Christensen’s legacy from Efosa Ojomo, who co-wrote a book with Christensen and who carries on … Continued
We can admit that any effort Utah makes to address global climate change will be a drop in the world bucket, and Utah Foundation’s 2020 Utah Priorities Project shows that Utahns in general are not particularly concerned about climate change. But Utahns are worried about air quality. And if Utah makes major strides on the air quality front, it might thereby do more than its part in the climate change arena. There’s no reason Utah … Continued
In this episode of Utah Thrives, we discuss the seven constitutional amendment propositions on the November 3, 2020 ballot. We give particular attention to Amendment G, which would allow income tax revenues to be used for purposes beyond education.
There are a number of constitutional amendments on the ballot confronting Utah voters this November. The Utah Foundation provided summaries and brief analyses of each in its recent report On the Ballot: Constitutional Amendments Nov. 3, 2020. But by far the most controversial item is Amendment G, which expands the potential uses of income tax revenue. Currently, Utah’s income taxes are dedicated to public and higher education alone. The amendment would broaden the named uses. … Continued