Utah Thrives: Farming in Utah’s Urban Counties

Written by: Dan Bammes

For several generations now, the most profitable crop grown on farmland in Utah’s urban counties has been new houses. Farmland has been disappearing and with it the lifestyle that was once a big part of Utah’s culture. But through the years, farming has survived and adapted, sometimes taking advantage of that urban growth. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we’ll hear about the agricultural protection status that farmers in Wasatch Front communities are able to … 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

Utah Thrives – Income Tax Changes

Written by: Dan Bammes

It was called the Jones-Mascaro bill, after Democratic State Representative Pat Jones and Republican Representative Steve Mascaro. The idea was to limit the income tax break that large families were getting under Utah law. Over a dozen years, the legislature rejected the idea time after time. But now, thanks to the tax reform enacted by Congress and the response of the Utah legislature to those changes, a policy similar to Jones-Mascaro is in place – … Continued

Utah 2018 State Income Tax Calculator

Written by: Christopher Collard

Utah’s 2018 state income taxes will be impacted by the 2017 federal changes and 2018 state changes. Enter your information below to find out the impact of federal and state changes on your household in 2018. Household Information The calculator is preset to the median Utah household. Input your 2017 data to view a personalized projection. What is your filing status? Married filing jointlyHead of householdSingle or married filing seperately Standard or Itemized Deduction? Standard … Continued

Cutting state income taxes not a silver bullet for economic growth

Written by: Peter Reichard

It’s the first half of April. Income taxes are in the air. It’s the time when the procrastinators – about one-fourth of us, per the IRS – finally get around to filing income taxes. We’re also on the heels of a session in which the State Legislature trimmed Utah’s income tax rate from 5% to 4.95%, dropping our ranking nationally when it comes to state income taxes. Meanwhile, Utah Foundation’s new report, The Education Tax: … Continued

After 30 years of Truth in Taxation, how are property taxes looking?

Written by: Peter Reichard

When the subject of property taxes comes up, local officials are apt to bring up Utah’s Truth in Taxation law. As the name of the law implies, Utah’s Legislature created the law as a means of ensuring transparency to decision-making about taxes. But one practical effect of the law was to limit local governments’ ability to reap windfalls from increasing property values. And from the perspective of some local officials, the law has stunted revenue … Continued

Sorting out Utah’s public school spending puzzle

Written by: Peter Reichard

Among the qualities that define Utahns is a devotion to family – the latter of which is manifest in our average household size and the share of our population under 18, both the largest in the U.S. Another quality is Utahns’ strong sense of civic pride. So it’s not surprising that when people are reminded that our K-12 education spending per pupil is the lowest in the nation, a lot of folks get up in … Continued

What’s Utah Doing Right?

Written by: Peter Reichard

Scanning the indicators for economically successful states, any objective observer would need to pause on Utah. As Utah Foundation recently outlined in part of the 2018 Economic Report to the Governor, the state stacks up very favorably in national and regional comparisons. Looking at 2013 through 2016, the most recent three-year period with complete data, Utah Foundation found that our state ranked second in the nation for GDP growth, with an eye-opening annual growth rate … Continued

Utah Thrives: Taxing Online Commerce

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah is one of several states working to find a way to tax the millions of dollars its residents spend buying things online. Of several different legal strategies, the approach being taken in South Dakota appears to be leading the way, at least until Congress chooses to act on the issue. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we hear from Utah State Senator Curt Bramble, Overstock.com executive Jonathan Johnson, Holladay City Council member Steve Gunn … Continued

Utah Thrives: Education Funding

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah Foundation published a report in November, 2016 looking closely at the evolution of funding for Utah’s public schools over the past 20 years. Getting By with Less: Two Decades of K-12 Education Revenue and Spending pointed out that changes in the state’s tax structure over time had resulted in a net funding shortfall of more than $1.2 billion annually in spite of recent allocations of funding meant to keep pace with enrollment growth and … Continued