Getting Clear on Water: Practical Considerations in the Tax Versus Fee Debate

Written by: Christopher Collard

Utah ranks among both the nation’s driest and fastest growing states. Water governance approaches that ensure sufficiency of affordable, quality water into the future is a major concern. Utah Foundation’s series of water reports seeks to fully explore the issue of how we pay for that water. Water finance impacts fiscal stability, cost, transparency, and accountability in different ways. As policymakers plan Utah’s future, they must be cognizant of how today’s choices on water finance can impact … Continued

Building a Better Beehive: Land Use Decision Making, Fiscal Sustainability and Quality of Life in Utah

Written by: Sam Brucker

Building a Better Beehive: Land Use Decision Making, Fiscal Sustainability and Quality of Life in Utah explores the fiscal challenges that accompany growth, both in the short-term and in the long-term. The report also draws from Utah Foundation’s 2018 Quality of Life survey to demonstrate what Utahns value most in their communities, and which issues concern them most. Building from the fiscal challenges and quality of life concerns, the report identifies five strategic categories to … Continued

The Bedrock of Civilization: The Economic Impact of the Aggregates Industry in Utah

Written by: Christopher Collard

In 2018, Utah Foundation was commissioned by Clyde Companies, Kilgore Companies and Staker Parson Materials and Construction to analyze the impact of the aggregates industry in Utah. Aggregates generally consist of crushed stone, sand and gravel. Aggregates are essential in constructing stable subgrades for nearly every type of construction project and are constituents in asphalt and ready-mixed concrete. In 2017, the aggregates industry directly employed over 100,000 individuals nationally, supporting nearly 600,000 total jobs. The … Continued

Public Funds, Private Endeavors: A Primer on Local Economic Development Incentives in Utah

Written by: Christopher Collard

During the 2019 Utah legislative session, there are at least five bills that directly deal with how local governments award business incentives. Others may indirectly affect local governments’ ability to do so There are several ways to view local incentives. Critics might see them as public subsidies which distort economic growth. Others take a more neutral view, but focus on the funds that local governments forgo to incentivize economic development. Boosters view them as a … Continued

A Level Playing Field? Funding for Utah Students at Risk of Academic Failure

Written by: Shawn Teigen

The Governor’s Education Excellence Commission, led by Governor Herbert, voted to focus its efforts in 2018 on “providing support to students at risk of academic failure.” It suggests a strategy for the Utah Legislature to “consider additional state funding … based on student risk factors.” Demographic and economic factors can affect the cost of promoting academic success. Lower household income, disability status and lower English fluency can all be rough indicators of the need for … Continued

The Education Tax: Income Taxation in Utah

Written by: Christopher Collard

The income tax is one of the legs of Utah’s “three-legged stool” of tax revenues, along with the property and sales taxes. It is the largest of the three in 2017, bringing in approximately $3.6 billion. While federal income taxes are often a target for jokes on complexity, Utah’s state income taxes are relatively straightforward. Income taxes are a frequent focus for those who want increases for education on the one hand and those who … Continued

Considering a Cut to Utah’s Income Tax

Written by: Christopher Collard

State lawmakers are currently considering a small personal and corporate income tax cut for Utahns that would reportedly reduce the state income tax from 5% to 4.95%. Lawmakers are considering these tax cuts in light of large revenue growth from the income tax on top of a one-time windfall as a result of the recent federal income tax overhaul. This brief addresses the impact of the personal income tax cut on households. Based on data … Continued

The Essential Tax: Property Taxation in Utah

Written by: Christopher Collard

Property tax is one of the legs of Utah’s “three-legged stool” of tax revenues, along with the income and sales taxes. During the nineties and early aughts, the property tax was the smallest revenue generator of the three. However, with the 2008 income tax reform and the erosion of sales tax revenues, the three have been more equal, with the property tax bringing in approximately $3.3 billion in 2016, compared to $3.6 billion for income … Continued

Utah’s Coal Counties Part III: Coal Communities

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Governor Gary Herbert is looking to create 25,000 new jobs in Utah’s 25 non-Wasatch Front counties by 2020. There is certainly a broad and deep effort toward this end. The Utah Legislature has passed bills to bolster economic development, and there are numerous state agencies involved in the effort. Several public-private partnerships are working on rural job creation, as are non-profit and for-profit entities. The federal government is also involved. Utah’s more-rural counties themselves are leading this effort. One of … Continued

United Way of Treasure Valley 2017 Community Assessment

Written by: Shawn Teigen

In 2016, the United Way of Treasure Valley retained Utah Foundation to perform a Community Assessment of the United Way’s three-county service area. Work was completed in 2017. The Community Assessment is seen as a foundation to achieve community goals. For the assessment, Utah Foundation analyzed community data as indicators of community success, barriers to reveal hindrances to community success, and opportunities as potential solutions to barriers. To inform the assessment, Utah Foundation held focus groups … Continued