Rep. Jeremy Peterson: Spending your tax dollars on education

The Utah Taxpayer Association recently published data on Utah’s 41 school districts and how they spent tax dollars for the last fiscal year. Here is their report: 2015 Utah School Spending Report – Utah Taxpayer Association There is some really interesting information in this report.  I wanted to take a look at Ogden and Weber School Districts specifically to see how they compared to the state average.  Here are some charts I created from the data:   Let’s take a look at spending per student in various categories.  Instruction costs…

Howard Stephenson: Why Utah’s rank on per student spending is just one data point – not a vice

When State School Superintendent Brad Smith spoke at the recent Utah Taxes Now Conference on May 28, he struck a nerve with protectors of the education status quo when he said that a high ranking on per student spending is not a virtue and Utah’s ranking at 50th place is not a vice.  “It is simply a measure of input variables and it is one input variable, and that’s all,” he said. Smith had been similarly criticized when he decried those complaining about the Legislature’s 9.4% education funding increase in…

Gas Taxes are Broken, But How Do You Fix Them?

Imagine if you had to pay 2015 prices with 1997 dollars. Unfortunately, that’s the exact situation that we’re in with gas taxes. Between inflation and increased fuel efficiency, they just don’t buy what they used to, a situation that’s been a boon (yay de facto tax cuts) and bane (boo decreased road maintenance). It’s obvious that a fixed per-gallon excise tax on fuel isn’t a stable way to fund roads proportional to usage. What’s less obvious is what can be done about it. One of the more intriguing proposals on…

Do Teachers Get 120 Vacation Days?

At the Utah Taxpayer’s Association Pre-Legislative Session Conference Monday morning, Judi Clark with Parents for Choice in Education said that teachers in Nebo School District get 120 days of paid vacation per year.  That number seemed a little high to me, so I decided to test this theory with a little bit of math: There are 365 days in a year.  However, Americans are paid based on a five-day work week, and we have established Monday through Friday as the work week.  There are 52 weeks in a year, each containing one…

BUZZ: Reporter Billy Hesterman named VP of Utah Taxpayers Assoc

The Utah Taxpayers Association just announced on Facebook and Twitter that Billy Hesterman, political reporter for the Daily Herald, has been named their new vice-president. Hesterman will be replacing Royce Van Tassell, who is leaving to become the executive director of the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools. Senator Howard Stephenson, president of the UTA (no, not THAT UTA) said “Billy’s unique combination as a hard-nosed political reporter and disarming, happy demeanor makes him an ideal representative for the Association.” Billy will now be trading in his PRESS badge for a…

Macquarie Senior Vice President Argues Benefits of Match with UTOPIA [The Hub Debate]

This is  a Hub Debate on the proposed Macquarie acquisition of UTOPIA. Participate in the comments or submit a response for publication to UtahPoliticoHub@gmail.com. Resolved: “UTOPIA cities are being offered a lifeline by Macquarie and, despite the estimated $18 to $20 per household utility fee increase, should take the deal.” Pete Ashdown, CEO of X Mission, blogs about a great moment from a recent public meeting in which an elderly gentleman, who was around when Murray debated whether to install sewer and water lines, told about the critics back then who said they didn’t want…

Many Reasons to Say ‘No’ to UTOPIA [The Hub Debate]

This is  a Hub Debate on the proposed Macquarie acquisition of UTOPIA. Participate in the comments or submit a response for publication to UtahPoliticoHub@gmail.com. Resolved: “UTOPIA cities are being offered a lifeline by Macquarie and, despite the estimated $18 to $20 per household utility fee increase, should take the deal.” Taxpayers in UTOPIA, Utah’s largest and most spectacularly failing municipal telecom system, have many reasons to “say uNOpia to UTOPIA.” First, a $1.8 billion tax hike is preposterous. Second, UTOPIA failed throughout its 10-year history. Third, it’s wrong to require every resident and business…