Balancing the Burden: Utahns’ Tax Burden is Up from Historical Low

Written by: Christopher Collard

Taxes are everywhere. The small amount added to each purchase. The difference between your promised salary and what shows up in your bank account. The pennies added to each gallon of gas. The additional fee added to a water bill to cover sewerage services. So much of the public policy debate is focused on how to collect taxes, and what services they fund. This report, however, merely examines the aggregate burden of state and local … Continued

To Protect and Serve: Meeting Law Enforcement Recruiting and Retention Challenges in Utah

Written by: Christopher Collard

Businesses in Utah have for years reported that they have difficulty finding enough skilled employees to meet their needs. In a 2018 survey, the Utah Foundation found that this difficulty was the top issue “holding businesses back.” But this problem is not unique to the private sector. Local and state governments face a similar challenge, particularly in filling law enforcement positions. It seems to have become even more acute in recent years. This report highlights … Continued

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

Utah Rising – Initiatives for a Broad & Rapid Economic Revival

Written by: Staff

At the onset of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic downturn, the Utah Foundation worked with the Finance Committee of the Utah Economic Response Task Force to brainstorm and develop ideas with the potential to aid the economic rebound of the state. This menu of ideas includes some ideas that are well-developed and others in preliminary stages. Some are short-term approaches while others look further onto the horizon. While many of the ideas require … 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