Restoring Investment in Children

11 January 2017 Published in New Publications

 

Utah Taxes Lowest pointIn January 2015, the Utah Foundation reported that Utah’s overall tax burden, including all state and local taxes and fees, had fallen to its lowest level in at least 20 years: “Over the past several years, tax cuts have reduced Utah’s annual revenues by $479 million.” 

As a result, our investment in education remains well below pre-recession levels. Per-pupil state formula funding for K-12 education is down 11.9% from FY 2008 to 2017 (the current fiscal year). This 11.9% drop measures just the state contribution that constitutes two-thirds of our total public education budget. But the picture is no better when we look at the older data that include both state and local funding, which showed us seventh worst in the nation with a 17% drop in per-pupil expenditure for 2008-2014. The Voices for Utah Children's Utah Children’s Budget Report 2015 found that FY2014 real state spending per child remained 6% below pre-recession levels. Moreover, investment in K-12 education in particular has actually fallen in real terms since the 2008-2009 recession, before even accounting for the 7% growth in the number of children in Utah from FY2008 to FY2014.

While everyone enjoys paying lower taxes and having more dollars in our pockets today, these findings raise important questions about whether the current generation of Utahns is doing its part, as earlier generations did, to invest in our children and lay the foundations for Utah’s future growth and prosperity.

Moreover, recent data on high school graduation rates and college degrees raise warning signs that should concern all Utahns. Every racial and ethnic group in our state — including our two largest populations, whites and Hispanics — is below national averages for high school graduation rates. At the level of higher education, Utah’s share of college degrees among our working age population has now fallen below the national average for the first time on record.

Utah graduation rates

Opponents of new education revenues have for years counseled patience, assuring us that the economic boom that will generate new public education revenues is just around the corner or perhaps just another tax cut away. How long will we wait and watch our educational performance suffer — endangering our future prosperity — before taking seriously the challenge before us?

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pdf2017 Children's Fiscal Policy Agenda

More Information:

Utah Tax Reform Proposals: Who Wins and Who Loses?

Tax Reform and Utah's Most Vulnerable Populations

 

virtuous cycle website


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex