Op ed: Development tax breaks need oversight

Written by: Peter Reichard

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

Op-ed: Getting clarity on income inequality in Utah

Written by: Peter Reichard

Income inequality is on the American mind, with an economic crisis upon us, tensions on the streets, and a growing sense that an increasingly remote elite is controlling an increasingly disproportionate share of the nation’s wealth. Concerns are emanating from right, left and center. One prominent observer is now even arguing that an age of “neo-feudalism” is nigh. Utah Foundation recently explored income inequality in a series of briefs in our “Significant Statistics” series. Our … Continued

Significant Statistics | How are the economic crisis and long-term trends affecting government jobs in Utah?

Written by: Staff

THERE HAS BEEN A sharp decline in government jobs since the pandemic began affecting Utah’s economy in March. From March to May, nearly 20,000 government jobs disappeared – a 7% decline. This is roughly proportional to the decrease in jobs overall – 6%. This contrasts with the previous recession, when jobs overall decreased 6% from 2008 to 2010 while government jobs actually increased by 3% over the same time period.[1] * Image from Utah Foundation, … Continued

Significant Statistics | Which area of the Wasatch Front has the highest income inequality?

Written by: Staff

Earlier this month, Utah Foundation held a Breakfast Briefing looking at income inequality. Utah Foundation has also dedicated multiple Significant Statistics posts to looking at how income inequality varies across the state. We found that urban counties in Utah have the same levels of inequality when compared to more-rural counties (though income baselines varied significantly). However, the broad analysis obscures some of the detail, showing wide variation in inequality among counties and regions. Similarly, looking … Continued

Significant Statistics | Income Inequality in Utah: Urban Versus Rural

Written by: Staff

Income Inequality in Utah: Urban Versus Rural Last week, Utah Foundation held a Breakfast Briefing on income inequality in Utah. One question that the briefing didn’t address is what income inequality looks like off of the Wasatch Front. While last week’s Significant Statistic looked at inequality by county and region, this week’s post looks more directly at the urban/rural divide.[1] Utah Foundation sorted Utahns by urban and more-rural counties, dividing each into five evenly-sized groups … Continued

Significant Statistics | What’s the income distribution in your corner of Utah?

Written by: Staff

Income Inequality in Utah: Comparing Counties and Regions UTAH CAN CLAIM both one of the nation’s least unequal income distributions and one of the highest measures of social mobility. However, it has not been immune to national trends of growing income inequality. According to one of the panelists at a June 30 Utah Foundation Breakfast Briefing, the bottom 10% of income earners in Utah saw their real income decline between 1990 and 2014 and the … Continued

Op-ed: Why you should bet on Utah right now

Written by: Peter Reichard

Any major economic crisis has a tabula rasa effect, with businesses, investors and individuals pausing to consider big changes. Some will roll out a map of the United States to seek greener pastures. Some of them will decide to place their chips on Utah. Many current Utah residents will just double down. That makes sense, because this state is among the safest of bets. Here are 10 reasons why. 1. Utah has strong social capital. … Continued

Significant Statistics | Wasatch Front area takes lightest jobs hit among large U.S. metros

Written by: Staff

A NEW CBRE ANALYSIS has revealed that the Wasatch Front area was the least hit for year-over-year April job losses among 40 large U.S. metro areas studied. The area from Ogden to Provo saw its unemployment level at 6.6% higher than April 2019.[1] Phoenix and Dallas areas were tied for second best at 7.6% higher. April’s unemployment levels vary across Utah, but tourism-dependent counties have taken the hardest hits.[2] Grand County, which contains Moab, saw … Continued

Significant Statistics | Housing Permits Plummet

Written by: Staff

UTAH HOUSING BUILDING PERMITS decreased from 3,070 in March to 2,089 in April, a 32% decrease.1 Interestingly, this came just after a March in which the greater Salt Lake City area (MSA) saw the highest number of housing permits in decades, and perhaps ever – over 1,500. The next month, they plummeted: April saw a decrease to just over 800.2 Meanwhile, regional housing start3 estimates across the West indicate a dramatic dropoff, from 325,000 in … Continued