What, or who, will it take to rescue UTA?

Is it time for new leadership at UTA? With the failure of Prop 1 in Salt Lake County, where opposition to the transportation tax was unfunded and supporters raised $675,000, blame was quickly placed on UTA for sinking the transportation tax. UTA would have been the recipient of 40% of the revenues raised by the tax hike. UTA executives make high six figure salaries and regularyly enjoy exotic foreign trips to research other metropolitan transit systems; consequently, sympathy for subsidizing public transit has fallen. While Salt Lake County voters in the past have supported bonds for things like…

Does every college in Utah need NCAA athletics?

by Dan Burton and Shon Harris Does every Utah institution of higher education need NCAA sports? Let us put that differently: should students and taxpayers be subsidizing NCAA sports in Utah to the tune of $56M or could that money be prioritized for other needs, such as lowering student costs and fees? A couple weeks ago (or more, but we’re slow, okay?) the Utah State Auditor’s office released an analysis of subsidization of the NCAA by Utah, and it had all the impact of a bird pooping on the shiny glass of the Tower at Rice-Eccles Stadium.…

Swapping branches: Moving between Utah’s Legislature and the Herbert Administration

Jon Cox resigned his seat in the Utah House on July 8 to take a job in Governor Gary Herbert’s office as Communications Director. Cox is a savvy and likable hand and he’ll do well in the new job. He won’t be the first legislator to join the Herbert Administration, however (nor the first Cox. In addition to Spencer Cox, the LG and Jon’s fourth cousin, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget is Kristin Cox, though she is not related, at least directly, to the other two. This is what we call…

Utah State Auditor releases steps to improve college graduation rates [UPH Wire]

News Release  For Immediate Release April 22, 2015 Office of the Utah State Auditor Releases Steps to Improve College Graduation Rates College Preparation and Student Success  Salt Lake City, UTAH –   The Office of the Utah State Auditor (Office) today released its latest analysis report, Steps to Improve College Graduation Rates. The complete report includes three sections: Preparation for College Readiness, Performance Measures Related to College Graduation, and Earning STEM Degrees Requires High Preparation. The report highlights concerns that only 25% of Utah students taking the ACT are considered…

Utah State Auditor Releases Investigation of Draper City’s Allocation of Incremental Costs to Traverse Ridge Special Service District [UPH Wire]

News Release  For Immediate Release April 17, 2015 Office of the Utah State Auditor Releases Investigation of Draper City’s Allocation of Incremental Costs to Traverse Ridge Special Service District  Salt Lake City, UTAH – The Office of the Utah State Auditor (Office) today released its Investigation of Draper City’s Allocation of Incremental Costs to the Traverse Ridge Special Service District.  The Office performed this investigation as a result of allegations received through the Office’s hotline. The full Report may be found on the Office’s website, auditor.utah.gov, specifically at http://financialreports.utah.gov/saoreports/2014/14-TRSD-8LDraperCityDraperCity.pdf. About the Office…

State Auditor Asks: Should State of Utah as an Employer Comply with the Affordable Care Act?

While lawmakers on Utah’s Capitol Hill debate to what extent to expand Medicaid (Healthy Utah, Frail/Feeble Utah, or Middle of the Road Utah), state government has begun to comply with the employer mandate provisions of Obamacare, raising questions for some about the intrusion of federal law. Raising issues of federalism, on Wednesday, Utah State Auditor John Dougall asked a simple question: “Should the State of Utah as an employer comply with the “employer mandate” found in the Federal Affordable Care Act (“ACA”)?” I called Utah Human Resources and confirmed that the state is…

Office of the Utah State Auditor Releases A Performance Audit of Utah’s Adult Felony Drug Courts [Hub Wire]

News Release For Immediate Release January 21, 2015 A Performance Audit of Utah’s Adult Felony Drug Courts Program Could be Strengthened with Oversight Enhancements and Greater Collaboration with Other State Agencies  Salt Lake City, UTAH – The Office of the Utah State Auditor (Office) recently completed a Performance Audit of Utah’s Adult Felony Drug Courts (audit). While there is much national data that points to the value of drug courts, Agencies responsible for Utah’s drug courts have not collected the specific and actionable data that is needed to drive continuous…

STATEMENT: State, not federal funds, are largest source of revenue for Utah [UPH Wire]

For Immediate Release Contact: Aimee Edwards edwards@utah.gov 801.755.3085 State, not federal funds, are largest source of revenue for Utah SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 19, 2014) – Marty Carpenter, spokesman for Gov. Gary R. Herbert, issued the following statement regarding a report released by the state auditor today: “Contrary to a report released by the state auditor, federal funds are not the state’s largest single revenue source. The report lumps all federal funding into one group while breaking state funding sources into various groups. It is a misleading and unfair comparison.…

How Much Debt Does Utah Have?

How much debt does Utah actually have? And how will that debt affect Utah’s ability to fund important priorities in coming years?  Utah’s historical measure of its general obligation debt is higher than average for states with a AAA debt rating, but other liabilities might raise it higher still.  Only prudent policy will allow Utah to plan for the future.   Did you know that the Utah Constitution imposes constitutional limits on the amount of debt the state can carry? From Article XIV, Section 1: To meet casual deficits or failures in…

Should the Utah Legislative Session be Longer?

This past week the Legislative Process Committee recommended extending the legislative session.  Currently the session runs 45 continuous days, that count including weekends.  The committee expressed concerns over the often rushed decision-making process, and the lack of time they have to fully vet all bills.  These concerns are valid, but is the answer a longer session? No. The answer lies in other reforms, such as: Requiring all bills to have two committee hearings This seems counter intuitive.  Legislative committees take time.  But by requiring bills to have two hearings it…