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

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

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

New data show Utah still last in nation in per-pupil spending

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Is Utah still last in the nation in per-pupil spending? Yes. Census data released on May 21 show that Utah is still last at $7,179. Nonetheless, spending has been on the increase in Utah and nationally. In fact, U.S. per-pupil spending has increased for five straight years. It now stands at $12,201 per student. That puts Utah at 59% of the national average. But how are Utah students performing? Future Utah Foundation research will look … Continued

Utah’s thriving economy complicates teacher pay challenge

Written by: Peter Reichard

It’s usually a simple equation. If you want high-performing schools, you need high-performing teachers. The question – particularly for a fast-growing state like Utah – is how to attract and retain them. In its new report, Apples to Apples? How Teacher Pay in Utah Stacks Up to the Competition, Utah Foundation reveals that average teacher pay in our state is well below the national average and at the bottom of the eight Mountain States. But … Continued

Utah Thrives – Tax Modernization

Written by: Dan Bammes

What did Utah’s governor mean when he told the Legislature that tax modernization is his top priority for this session? What’s not modern about our tax system — specifically, sales taxes? In this edition of Utah Thrives, we’ll hear what the governor had to say on the subject as well as from Research Analyst Christopher Collard, the author of Utah Foundation’s award-winning studies on sales, property and income taxes in Utah. And we’ll hear from … Continued

Helping criminal offenders find freedom

Written by: Peter Reichard

Somewhere in our state right now, an inmate is struggling with the slavery of substance abuse. He has fallen into a downward spiral of addiction and criminality, and has landed behind bars. Drug use and crime are often entangled. Some offenders with substance use disorders are arrested on drug possession charges; others may be arrested for crimes committed to fund an addiction. In short, many criminal offenders are people caught in the downward spiral of … Continued

Utah Thrives: Utah’s State Budget and Board Chair Elizabeth Hitch

Written by: Dan Bammes

The most important job for Utah’s state legislature as it prepares to go into its general session is to pass a balanced state budget. The governor provides legislators with a budget outline in December, and the day it was released, Utah Foundation hosted a breakfast with special guests Kristen Cox, the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, along with Phil Dean, the office’s Budget Director and Chief Economist. We’ll hear some … Continued

Taking on the sales tax offers opportunities, brings challenges

Written by: Peter Reichard

George Washington once observed that “No taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.” Like most states, Utah depends primarily on a three-legged stool of more or less unpleasant taxes: the property tax, the income tax and the sales tax. Property and income taxes seem to chafe the public most. Paying these taxes serves almost as a rite of passage into full participation in the economy and the burdens of … Continued