Significant Statistics | Utah Leads the U.S. in Personal Income Growth

Written by: Erin Hernandez

In a year when one might expect Americans’ personal income to decrease, 2020 saw the greatest increase in personal income growth in 20 years. The pandemic and related economic shutdown inspired a far-reaching increase in governmental assistance. Policymakers focused on increasing funds for unemployment benefits and government transfers, more widely known as stimulus checks, in hopes of offsetting the impacts from a growing unemployment rate. This resulted in a nationwide personal income increase of 4.9%. … Continued

Utah Thrives Podcast | Is Utah Leading a Transportation Funding Revolution?

Written by: Peter Reichard

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

Op-Ed: Has Utah found a better way to pay for roads?

Written by: Peter Reichard

About 8,000 years ago, somebody in what is now Iraq came up with the idea of taxing the public for services and infrastructure. In addition to funding armies, taxation in the ancient world went heavily toward building roads. Whether it was property taxes or some other exaction, few were particularly pleased. Tax collectors were despised in the ancient world. After these millennia, is it possible that Utah has figured out the best way for the … 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

Op-Ed: Tax reform may be on pause, but the issues roll on

Written by: Peter Reichard

Writing on tax reform back in December, I quoted Thomas Jefferson: “Politics … holds up the torches of martyrdom to the reformers of error.” Well, apparently state political leaders saw the glow of firelight coming over the hillside, because the tax reform in question was quickly thereafter thrown out. This leaves the issues that motivated reform unresolved. To give Utahns a better idea of what that means, Utah Foundation recently released “Now What? A Citizen’s … Continued

Video: How Utahns Pay for Water

Written by: Christopher Collard

Utah Foundation’s first short video of 2020 is an overview of five reports from 2019 that make up the Paying for Water series. The series outlines the pros and cons of a greater reliance on water rates, and how this might affect certain areas of concern. Paying For Water Series This series contains an executive summary and four main parts: Executive Summary: Paying for Water: A Brief Summary of the Series Part 1 – Background: … Continued

The leaves are falling. What about taxes?

Written by: Peter Reichard

Autumn is not the season we usually associate with discussions of state tax policy. But with comprehensive tax reform failing to blossom last spring at the close of the general session, state legislators are working to bring reform to fruition before winter sets in. The push for reform comes at a time of prosperity for Utah – but also a time when structural challenges are becoming increasingly apparent. As Utah Foundation revealed in its 2018 … 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

How should we pay for water? A matter of priorities

Written by: Peter Reichard

It can be said that the modern history of Utah began with water — and a bet. The year was 1824, and Jim Bridger was sitting around with his fellow mountain men in Cache Valley, on the banks of the Bear River, laying bets over where the water flowed. To settle the bet, Bridger followed the river down and found a giant, briny inland sea. Ever since, water has shaped the contours of Utah’s history … Continued