Utah Priorities 2020 | Utah Priority No. 2: State Taxes and Spending

Written by: Christopher Collard

State taxes and government spending has continuously been a top-10 issue for voters since Utah Foundation’s first Utah Priorities Project in 2004. The 2020 iteration of the project is no exception. While open-ended responses often indicate that people feel that taxes are too high, this brief highlights some additional survey questions that offer a more nuanced view. The priority may also get additional attention this year due to the coronavirus and the associated recession’s still … 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

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

The Everyday Tax: Sales Taxation in Utah

Written by: Christopher Collard

The sales tax is paid almost every day by virtually every person who sets foot in Utah – residents and visitors alike. It is one of the legs of Utah’s “three-legged stool” of tax revenues, along with property and income taxes. The Everyday Tax examines Utah’s sales tax, comparing it to taxes in other states and looking at the factors affecting its growth. It also looks at exemptions and earmarks, as well as options for broadening the sales tax base. This is the … 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

Simple Arithmetic? K-12 Education Spending in Utah

Written by: Shawn Teigen

SOME CLAIM UTAH NEEDS MORE MONEY for K-12 public education. Others assert there is waste in the current K-12 public education budget. Simple Arithmetic? K-12 Education Spending in Utah can help readers answer for themselves questions about sufficiency and waste. It explains education finance and financial transparency. It explores revenues and spending in Utah and provides national comparisons. It also discusses data availability – and the next steps in education finance reporting. Download this report. … Continued

Getting By with Less: Two Decades of K-12 Education Revenue and Spending

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Over the past twenty years, Utah’s K-12 education funding effort – or the amount spent per $1,000 personal income – has decreased from 7th highest in the nation to 37th. The decline has resulted in a nearly 29% decrease in tax revenue, which equates to a $1.2 billion reduction of funds available annually for public K-12 education. This would equate to an increase in funding of nearly $2,000 per pupil, or an average of over … Continued

Utah Priorities 2016, Issue #3: K-12 Education

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Utahns have always ranked K-12 education as a one of their top three concerns in the Utah Priorities Project. In 2016, K-12 education ranked third. Survey Responses Level of Concern In the Utah Priorities Project, over two-thirds (68%) of Utahns had a high level of concern for K-12 education (rating it a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale). Liberal respondents were slightly more concerned than moderate and conservative respondents, but over 81% of “very … Continued

Lessons from Our Neighbor: Learning from Colorado’s Educational Success

Written by: Shawn Teigen

In the early 1990s Utah ranked in the top 15 states on all four major national tests. Utah lost ground in the late nineties and now ranks in the middle twenties among the states. Colorado also slipped in national rankings, but contrary to Utah, Colorado quickly rebounded, and has been in the top 15 in reading and math for the last decade despite spending less than the national average on education. This report explores a … Continued

The Role of Bonds in Utah: A Guide to Utah Bonding and its Benefits and Limitations

Written by: Mallory Bateman

The State of Utah borrows billions of dollars to finance large capital projects. Several such projects loom on the horizon, including the prison relocation, highway construction, and water projects. In consideration of these needs, Utah Foundation researched whether it is beneficial for Utah to maintain the practice of bonding with shorter terms, or if it might be useful to extend the term lengths. The report first explains what municipal bonds are, how they work, and … Continued