Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Evaluation of Utah's Tax System and a Comparison of Eight Intermountain Western States

Executive Summary
by Janis Dubno, MBA and Levi Pace, MBA, CPPA Research Associates

How well does Utah's tax system perform according to sound tax policy principles? Where does Utah rank among the Intermountain Western states? This report evaluates Utah's tax system and provides a comparison of eight Intermountain Western states according to fundamentally sound tax policy principles. Tax policy experts often state that broad tax bases and low tax rates are the pillars of sound policy. The study illustrates the wisdom of this idea and shows how a broad tax base, low uniform rates, and a few other crucial provisions, produce the top performances in tax policy in the Intermountain West.

Grandparents as Caregivers

Executive Summary
by Tricia Jack, MPA, CPPA Research Associate

Data from the U.S. Census show that the phenomenon of grandparents raising grandchildren is increasing. This report looks at the continuum of supports that are available to families in Utah where relatives, most of whom are grandparents, are trying to care for children. By examining the complex needs of kin families and the support that exists both inside and outside the child welfare system, the report identifies strengths and gaps where policy solutions could improve the system in Utah.

Head, Heart & Soul

by Ken Embley, CPPA

We humans are a curious sort. We see so clearly a task to perform, a process to follow, and the mechanics of the things we like to do. Yet we seem to struggle with the reasoning for the task, the product of the task, and unknowingly, with some sense of the integrity of task. Why-we humans like to do what we do, just because.

Affordable Housing in Utah

by Sara McCormick, MPA and Tricia Jack, MPA, CPPA Research Associates

Home ownership is becoming increasingly difficult for Utah families. While the median income for Utah is almost $58,000, to purchase an average priced home (currently over $245,000 excluding Park City), a Utah family must make almost $80,000 per year. In his remarks at the Utah Intergovernmental Roundtable recently, Governor Huntsman said three years ago no one mentioned housing, but now everywhere he goes, people are sharing their concerns. The concerns even extend to areas that most would not expect.

Letter from Jim Matheson

Dear Mark,

The lack of independent, accurate assessments about our progress in Iraq has stymied our efforts to secure the country and assist in its reconstruction. We have the world's most powerful military. If military might alone could succeed in Iraq, our mission would be complete by now.

We need more than a military strategy for Iraq--we need a plan for political, diplomatic and economic success. The President received such a strategy a year ago in the form of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG) report. Unfortunately, he did not adopt it.

Going forward, in trying to establish a new Iraq strategy, I am guided by a set of principles that 14 Democrats and 14 Republicans support, including:

  • We need a clearly defined and measurable mission for military involvement
  • The government of Iraq must now be responsible for Iraq's future and must make progress on political, security and economic benchmarks
  • Our soldiers, including Guard and Reserves, must have adequate rest and recuperation time between deployments
  • A safe and responsible redeployment of our Armed Forces is necessary to transfer the combat mission to the Iraqi forces
  • Any ongoing mission must involve counterterrorism operations, force protection, equipping Iraqis, helping refugees and preventing genocide

It is immoral to play politics with the needs of the men and women who protect the ideals we hold so dear. Our troops have performed heroically. We owe them a new approach and a thoughtful approach to the situation in Iraq. We owe them a comprehensive strategy for success.

Our intelligence community tells us Al Qaeda--the number one threat to Americans--is strengthening. We must not weaken our capability to combat that threat. I will continue to look for responsible ways to change course in Iraq without engaging in political games that would compromise the safety of our soldiers.


U.S. Representative
2nd District of Utah