Policy Savant Panel — UtahPolicy.com: Climate Cange

Written by: Peter Reichard

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

Op-ed: Getting clear on what the income tax amendment does and doesn’t do

Written by: Peter Reichard

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

Significant Statistics | Uneven Distribution of Utah’s Unemployment

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Utah’s tourism-destination counties – particularly those in Southeastern Utah – and the state’s most important oil and gas extraction counties have been the slowest to recover from the pandemic-resultant recession. In the Southeastern part of the state, Garfield, Grand, San Juan and Wayne counites’ unemployment rates remain between 8.3% and 10.3%. Duchesne and Uintah counties sit at 7.6% and 8.5%, respectively. The decline in energy prices mentioned in Utah Foundation’s September 24 release, Utah Priority … Continued

Significant Statistics | Utahns prefer that K-12 spending go to teacher pay

Written by: Shawn Teigen

As part of the 2020 Utah Priorities Project survey, when asked if they would be willing to pay more taxes for public schools, a majority of voters agreed. Utah voters preferred that additional funding be directed toward teacher pay and smaller class sizes, with less emphasis on either technology, books and other supplies or counselors and support services. Improved school facilities was a distant last place. Learn about how these preferences conflict and more in … Continued

Op-Ed: Coronavirus, an earthquake and lessons learned from a past crisis

Written by: Peter Reichard

The impacts surrounding the coronavirus, coupled with a significant earthquake, have me thinking back to a dark period. In New Orleans in 2005, I watched a piece of American civilization fall into confusion, the city half-destroyed (and my own house looted). But I was lucky, with “only” about $40,000 in damage from floodwaters. This was the Katrina disaster and its aftermath, and I watched it from the front row, working at a public policy organization … Continued

Op-Ed: When it comes to tax reform, time may be the best teacher

Written by: Peter Reichard

One of my all-time favorite movies is a holiday picture, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I doubt I’m alone in that. Even at the time of its release, it was a smashing box office success, and won Academy Awards for best picture, best director (Frank Capra) and best actor (Jimmy Stewart), right? Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. The 1947 film was a box office disappointment, and all those awards went to a movie few can remember … Continued

Utah Thrives: Teacher Compensation

Written by: Dan Bammes

A pair of recent research reports by Utah Foundation revealed that teacher pay in Utah has not kept pace with a booming state economy, and that its retirement system has some unique features that are an important part of overall compensation. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we’ll hear from a Steve Dimond, a school district administrator responsible for hiring teachers in an increasingly competitive environment. We’ll also hear from Utah Foundation Vice President and … Continued

Utah Thrives: Paying for Water

Written by: Dan Bammes

What’s the best way for communities in Utah to share the cost of providing water? How can municipalities and water districts encourage users to conserve so in the long run, there will be enough to go around? Utah Foundation looked at those questions in a new series of research reports. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we’ll hear from Research Analyst Christopher Collard, along with Ron Thompson from the Washington County Water Conservancy District, Tom … Continued

2019 Utah Ethical Leadership Awards

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Utah Foundation was a finalist at the sixth annual Utah Ethical Leadership Awards on Friday, September 6th. This program is designed to recognize organizations that embody the spirit of ethical leadership exhibited by Bill Daniels, who was a founder of the modern cable industry and former owner of the Utah Stars. Bill Daniels believed deeply in ethics and integrity. “The finalists and awardees are a great representation of Utah’s principle-based ethical leadership.” – Utah Governor … Continued

Getting clear on K-12 spending, outcomes – and goals

Written by: Peter Reichard

When the question of K-12 spending comes up in public policy circles, someone is bound to mention: “We spend the least per student in the nation.” Though ranking last may induce shame, the real issue is not how much we spend on schools. Rather, it’s how well the schools perform. Utah Foundation launched a series of reports on K-12 spending nearly two years ago, exploring issues ranging from funding for students at risk of academic … Continued