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Is Utah really the best managed state? What would the poor say?

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  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 6, 2014 5:55 a.m.

    "Gov. Gary Herbert and state legislative leaders tout Utah as the “best managed state” in the nation . . . "

    Uh huh

    So the state's managers say Utah is the "best managed state."

    How much is that worth? Does anyone else say that?

    The Bush Administration thought they were better managers than the Clinton administration too. Dick Cheney still thinks so.

    Maybe someone else should do the evaluating? Just a thought.

  • News enthusiast Orem, UT
    July 6, 2014 7:06 a.m.

    When lawmakers tout Utah as one of the best managed states, they are referring to fiscal responsibility. And by that measurement, they are correct. Utah has few crippling obligations that most states have.

    Treatment of mental illness is an issue that most states have not paid attention to. Rehabilitating mental illness could save the state money, but the article's binding of rehabilitation to a shortage of qualified workers is a very odd pairing indeed. As I understand it, employers are not necessarily looking for "more workers" as they are looking for particular skills, such as technology. Treatment of mental illness will not bring more employers to the state.

    Education has been and will continue to be the most critical factor to achieve financial stability. Achievement of Utah students in primary education is on a slippery slope. The USOE has and Governor have made several crippling decisions in regards to Common Core that made this base-layer gap worse that it already was. If we are to address a skills shortage, businesses need to work with Universities to identify these needs, or work with the Governor to attract more skilled workers to the state.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 6, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    Agreed - in part.

    With K-12 spending being the WORST in the nation.

    However --
    Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said it best when he said
    Utah's greatest export is it's highly skilled, highly educated work force.

    Meaning --
    After all the investing, and spending on education, and higher education --
    [running an average of about $200,000 per student]

    Utah's College graduates [you know - the future MIDDLE class]
    are being FORCED to leave the state to find meaningful employment.

    That's got to be about the Stupidest investment plan I have ever witnessed.
    [$200,000 for NOHTING!]

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    July 6, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    To be conservative implies a conscious effort to be a good steward/citizen.

    Spending huge sums for punishment only is always an easy sell. Spending less to make people accountable, while helping them is what it means to be conservative, but it is much tougher, politically.

    I consider myself a progressive conservative. In the best tradition, here in Wisconsin, it meant to make the world a better place (progressive) while being careful stewards of all resources.

  • FanOfTheSith Vernal, UT
    July 6, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    Utah hasn't been translated yet to the heavens so even if the Politicians claimed that it is the best managed state in the nation, it is way far away from perfection.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    July 6, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    re: FanOfTheSith

    If this is utopia or Heaven then let me go to... Vegas.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    July 6, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    Doesn't being the best managed mean that you adequately fund your programs? If that's the case, then I would dare say that Utah is one of the worst managed. Our public education is the lowest-funded in the nation, and that keeps the wealthiest businesses in the nation from investing in our state.

    Good business mean investing in the the programs that will bring a higher return, and that would be our children. When students get a good education, they will contribute to the economy by getting a job in a career with a good income. Unfortunately, too many of them have to leave the state to find those jobs because the companies that offer the best salaries don't come here because we don't adequately fund education. It's a vicious cycle.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 6, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    The poor and mentally ill don't donate to campaigns.

    Utah's "moral leaders" would rather spend millions to discriminate against LGBT citizens, millions to sweep scandals under the rug (Herbie's road scandal) and millions fighting to take over federal lands to give to their developer donors.

    Some morality, Utah; some morality indeed.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    July 6, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    "Is Utah really the best managed state? What would the poor say?"
    ==============

    The headline above is the question posed by Larry Alan Brown, the author. I figured that somewhere in his ensuing article would be some sort of answer to his self-posed question. Yet, all that followed was a litany of statistics showing that Mr. Brown thinks Utah has many things to improve with virtually nothing showing comparative data that might help answer his question.

    I suppose Mr. Brown is ultimately saying that the "best managed state" would be one in which there remained no problems at all, and therefore Utah, which is not perfect, is NOT the "best managed state". Which, since no state is perfect, therefore means that NO state is the "best state".

    Gosh! Couldn't he simply have stated that up front and saved us the whine fest?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 6, 2014 11:52 a.m.

    Utah needs to keep fighting marriage, no matter the cost. While they're at it, they need to keep fighting the Feds for the lands that Utah has never had a claim to. Also, let's cut education. Education will just create liberals.

  • Ben H Clearfield, UT
    July 6, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    Two comments.

    First, most schools in the nation are funded via property tax. When so much of the state is owned by the feds, the opportunity to collect that property tax is not there.

    When I lost my job three years ago, I got a new job before my unemployment kicked in. That was about 5 weeks. I never collected one dime of unemployment and had to rely on other sources to pay the bills that month. If you live in Utah, I recommend that you have one month of income in reserves based upon this experience.

  • James E Tooele, UT
    July 6, 2014 12:35 p.m.

    The shortage of skilled workers isn't due to a failure of the education system, it's due to the success of job-creation. With full employment in a certain sector, wages go up because of scarcity, which is good for the workers.
    The wages for unskilled workers are depressed because there's a flood of unskilled labor pouring across the southern border. With no lack of scarcity, wages DO NOT go up. Our nation's dysfunctional immigration policies have led to an exacerbation of problems at the lower end of the income table. Put simply, amnesty, whether official or unofficial, equals increased poverty.

    As for mental illness, isn't that the domain of people's own family and charities? Why does the state need to pay for your problems? People say they want the government out of their bedroom, out of their ovaries, out of their private information, and then they turn over all responsibility for their lives to the state. The logic of petulant children.

  • Mick Murray, Utah
    July 6, 2014 1:18 p.m.

    Gary O,

    I am pretty sure someone who lives in Virginia shouldn't be doing the evaluating but you sure have a lot of opinions on what happens in Utah.

    We have our issues in Utah and we are not perfect, however the governor should be given a lot of credit for bringing jobs here. If you don't believe it, go look at all the new businesses at the north end of Lehi.

    Just throwing money at issues such as education doesn't fix problems. New York is a prime example of this. That state spends the most per student and has some of the worse results.

  • Overdubbed San Diego, CA
    July 6, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    I believe that Deseret News has failed in this article. A quick check on the Internet suggests to me that the poverty rate and numbers of people in poverty are declining. That is according to the reports by the very source quoted in the article.

    It makes me wonder if the fact checkers at Deseret News were asleep when reviewing this article.

    I may write a more lengthy rebuttal as a letter to the editor – based on the facts, not based on some normative position – to this article. I have no horse in this race, I just do not like to see the Deseret News be manipulated or its readers misled by a news reporter that got the facts wrong. Of course I also have to check my facts before I do that, but the facts that I have seen so far lead me to believe that there is a problem with this article

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 6, 2014 2:41 p.m.

    Larry Brown raises some important questions. Unfortunately, the answers he provides all have government in them. What happened to private charities as a reasonable response. Since government has taken over safety nets of every kind, charities, families and neighbors have stepped back, assuming that government is there to fill the void.

    While a basic safety net, particularly for mental illness may make some some sense, it is not clear to me that in many, if not most, other cases government programs don't cause more harm than good. They often cause dependency, keep people from planning ahead, remove freedom and opportunity by raising tax burdens, and are easy prey for scammers and the politically well connected to constantly eat at the public program trough.

    America is about the freedom to pursue happiness. The more we try to guarantee happiness by fixing outcomes, the fewer Americans there will be who are able to achieve happiness through their own will and industry.

    p.s. poverty in this country is wealth in more than half the world. Our safety net is strong already, perhaps too strong. Let's focus on freedom, not equality, and we will all be better off.

  • nmjim SANDIA PARK, NM
    July 6, 2014 3:41 p.m.

    Head Start is indeed a 50 year old time tested program... and it has failed the tests. No discernible improvement or difference between children enrolled in head start and not.
    Why would any legislature throw more good money after bad in such a program?

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    July 6, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    If you've got your hand out and Utah is not filling it with a fistful of cash, you're going to complain. Is that the purpose of government? Is government supposed to be your nanny? Is government supposed to pay your bills (by taxing others to take care of your personal responsibilities)? Is government supposed to take from those who are willing to work to pay the bills of those who will not work, who squandered their publicly funded education, who decided that having sex outside of marriage, taking drugs or breaking any other social taboos entitled them to feed at the public trough?

    Make no mistake about it, those who expect government to be the solution to society's problems are not concerned about society, but only about themselves. Either they are paid by the government to not be productive, or their business is funded by government grants that pay them to demand more from government and less from the citizens who are responsible for their own welfare.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 6, 2014 5:19 p.m.

    It has come on the backs of the teachers and our schools and ultimately our children will be the collateral damage to being the "best managed state."

  • On the other hand Riverdale, MD
    July 6, 2014 6:07 p.m.

    Head Start is not a miracle cure for poverty or disadvantaged status. However, study after study has shown that Head Start provides modest but significant benefits to the children it serves, when compared to children of similar socioeconomic backgrounds who did not participate in the program. Head Start is a relatively inexpensive ounce of prevention that Utah would do well to invest in.

  • TheLionHeart salt Lake, UT
    July 6, 2014 7:48 p.m.

    This article is simply an opinion piece, with some generals flaws. Early education programs have been proven successful indeed but only for the short term. The long term studies have proven that these are short term gains that absolutely vanish by Junior High/ Middle School so that there is absolutely no difference in grades or success rates for the children who did not attend preschool/early education programs.
    I agree that something needs to be done about the poor in Utah. Although speaking as someone who came close to finishing a masters degree to become a therapist. All of the studies for decades have shown that there is a 85% recidivism rate with mental health issues. Meaning 15% of the people get better if treated. If left untreated the rate is the same 15% get better. One major reason I bailed out of finishing the Masters Program. Therapists usually have little or no impact on most. Some people who go in without problems exit therapy with mental health issues. Some go in with problems and resolve them. All in all, its a complete wash but costs a lot of money. The best solution is to create good jobs.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 6, 2014 7:49 p.m.

    So, Utah is not spending enough on mental health?

    How much would be enough to spend on mental health?

    And, please show how spending more on mental health has actually produced meaasurable improved results, other than the number of people "in treatment" which means jobs for pseudo scientists.

    I have yet to see any cures for mental health problems, at any price. The sticking point is that adult mentally ill can, and often do refuse to take their drugs, and cannot be forced to take them. More money won't fix that. Institutionalization would, but that is not allowed, so the mentally ill are often on their own, the the peril of themselves and those around them.

    Utah is superbly managed. Our elected officials realize there is a limited amount of money available and apportion it wisely to do the best they can among many competing needs. No government will ever have enough money to "fix" every "problem" that special interests want money for. Education and mental health advocates are among the most demanding supplicants!

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    July 7, 2014 12:22 a.m.

    The challenge with addressing poverty is that you cannot control other people's decisions. I know many very successful people who grew up poor. Some did not even have electricity or indoor plumbing. However, their parents were committed to education and they used that education to succeed. Of those in the bottom 20 of income - 50% will have moved out of that group within 10 years. Thus, there is upward mobility.

    Check in with any school with a large poverty problem and you will find many parents who are not involved in their children's education. No matter how much you spend, you will have a difficult time pulling children from such a family out of poverty.

    While sometimes bad things happen to people, most poverty is caused by poor decisions. You can lead some people to education, but you cannot make them drink. Spending more money will not change that. Once people want the education that it offered, they are on the road out of poverty.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    July 7, 2014 2:00 a.m.

    I guess many of you have never visited another state and compared that state with Utah but that is what this study has done, they have visited all fifty states and deemed Utah the best managed. Nowhere was it said that there is still not concerns here and that all states don't have issues.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 7, 2014 7:29 a.m.

    J Thompson
    SPRINGVILLE, UT
    If you've got your hand out and Utah is not filling it with a fistful of cash, you're going to complain. Is that the purpose of government? Is government supposed to be your nanny? Is government supposed to pay your bills (by taxing others to take care of your personal responsibilities)? ...entitled ... at the public trough?

    Make no mistake about it, those who expect government to be the solution to society's problems are not concerned about society, but only about themselves. Either they are paid by the government to not be productive, or their business is funded by government grants that pay them to demand more from government and less from the citizens who are responsible for their own welfare.

    4:18 p.m. July 6, 2014

    ========

    1. Governement IS part of our Society, fact, deal with it.

    2. I sure hope you are NOT retired and feeding from that Public Trough you so loathe and complain about.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 7, 2014 7:44 a.m.

    Someone asked, "As for mental illness, isn't that the domain of people's own family and charities?"

    Yes, if you want to drive the family into bankruptcy.

    Charities? Look at all the charities out there that are simply unable to keep up with the demand.

    We can thank Ronald Reagan for the mess we face as we try to care for the mentally ill among us. And if you think that someone else's mental illness is of no consequence to you or your family, ask the families of the children at Newtown or the theater patrons in Colorado or, closer to home, those who were at Trolley Square one night.

    Mental illness can affect ALL of us in some way or another even if we consider ourselves to be sane.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    The average income in Utah is lower than most States. But we have less people living in "Poverty" than most States.

    Part of this is because neighbors help neighbors in Utah, and we have a strong network of charitable organisations (not just the LDS Church). We also don't have the type of industries that tend to bread uber-rich and uber-poor side-by-side like in California.

    When all is said and done, and all the nay-sayers have taken their pot-shots (pun intended) at Utah... we are very lucky to live in Utah.

    If you DON'T feel lucky to live in Utah... why are you still hear? It's a free country! Go somewhere better! Or make Utah better... but don't just sit there all day every day complaining about Utah and Mormons... I'm pretty sure you CHOSE to live here (for some inexplicable reason).

  • Vince Ballard South Ogden, UT
    July 7, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    Unethical business finds it a great place to roost because of lax labor laws, weak enforcement, and low wages. Its great to be 'business friendly', but accountability is key. If the working class doesn't prosper, no one does in the long run.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    @Vince Ballard,

    Re: "If the working class doesn't prosper, no one does".

    I agree. So why are Utahns prospering (in general)? Why do we have the lowest unemployment rate, and why is Utah continuing to prosper in spite of the US economy?

    By your logic... doesn't that indicate we are doing SOMETHING right? Because we are prospering (long term).

    ===========

    I mean attacking Utah non-stop (justified or not)... you kinda have to live by your own rhetoric.

    If prospering (long term) is precluded when the working class doesn't prosper... and people in Utah are prospering (long term)... what does that say (using your own logic)?

    It means... the working class is prospering (at least in Utah).

    I mean the anti-1%er rhetoric may work SOME places... but not so much in Utah. We don't have Hollywood elites and uber-rich hedge fund managers. Those people usually live in bastions of liberalism (not rural Utah).

    ========

    Unethical businesses may find Utah a great place to roost. But they must be helping the Utah working class prosper (by your own logic).

    Imagine how the "working class" would be doing without businesses to work for...

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 7, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    To the liberal complainers out there. I don't think you read the article very well. Utah is a great place to live, unless you are poor or mentally ill. If you are poor, there are few unskilled jobs coming into Utah, and Utah has about maxed out its skilled labor force. What that says is that the poor, if they desired to, could become middleclass or better if they applied themselves and got a degree or training in the skills that the companies are looking for.

    Education and the lack government services are not the problem. The problem is that we don't have enough people looking to improve themselves.

    To "GaryO" usually I ignore you, but it was not the state leaders that declared Utah the best managed state. That title comes from USA Today, Forbes, and other national magazines and trade groups.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    Here's an experiment I'd like to try. None of the people posting today are "poor". So why don't we just be silent and let the poor Utahns post how THEY feel about it...

    Let's see if they agree with the leftists who hate businesses and don't want businesses coming to roost in Utah (which is where most poor people get their job in hopes of pulling themselves from the ranks of the "poor").

    Let's see if they want LESS businesses in Utah. And see if they would prefer Utah be managed like the bankrupt cities and States like Detroit, California, or Illinois, instead.

    I hate to speak for the poor... but I would suspect that they would want MORE businesses (and MORE jobs) to come to Utah... not LESS.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 7, 2014 3:52 p.m.

    @2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    If you DON'T feel lucky to live in Utah... why are you still hear? It's a free country! Go somewhere better! Or make Utah better...

    ========

    1. I don't like it here, never have.

    2. I have lived somewhere else - grew up in California, served an LDS Mission abroad, Served in the Military, and lived in Seattle for over 20 years.

    3. And that's part of the reason I came back -- I AM trying to change it, and make it more like it's supposed to be.

    4. IMHO -- our Brothers and Sisters living outside of the Utah bubble are better Mormons.

    5. Read Jacob 5-6, the Allegory of the Olive Tree, it might help you better understand what I been sent here to do.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 7, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" if you hate Utah so much, why do you stay? You have not answered that question.

    You say that you are trying to "change" Utah. Into what? Your ilk have been trying to change it for the past 100 years. Based on you political views, I would assume that you want Utah to be like the rest of the world. You should realize that Utah will never be like the rest of the world because the LDS leadership constantly preaches that we should not adopt the worlds ways.

    To be clear, that means that Socialism, and the other collectivist ideals (United order is not collectivist, you would know that if you read about it and read what Prophets have said about it) are what the world want, not what the Lord wants.

    Beware pride. I have relatives with the same attitudes that you have about Utah and non-Utah LDS members. I have lived both inside and outside of Utah and know that the only difference is the proximity to SLC.

  • Ett Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2014 1:10 a.m.

    The poverty rate in Utah was below 11percent for eight consecutive years, starting in 2000. In 2009, the rate climbed drastically from 9.6 percent in 2008 to 11.5 percent in 2009. It then rose to 13.2 percent in 2010, and 13.5 percent in 2011. In 2012, the rate was 12.8 percent, a decline of 5.5 percent of the previous year's total, refuting Mr. Brown's claim. My Cite can be found on statista "dot" com. Look under poverty rates in Utah.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2014 1:15 a.m.

    Re: Redshirt1701

    "To be clear, that means that Socialism, and the other collectivist ideals (United order is not collectivist, you would know that if you read about it and read what Prophets have said about it) are what the world want, not what the Lord wants."

    Well categorize the United Orders however you might, but they were NOT capitalist. Mormons had to abandon them (along with plural marriage) in order to get into the union. So Mormons were forced converts to capitalism - and how!

    Moreover, I don't think you have any idea more than I what the Lord thinks of socialism. I would point out that the early Christians "had things in common." That I think is a variety of socialism.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    July 8, 2014 7:54 a.m.

    The OP Ed should also have mentioned the failure of the state to expand Medicaid. Thay failure may well have life and death consequences.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 8, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    To "Marxist" actually, they were capitalist within the United Order. People still owned their property, they could still start new enterprises. The United Order was never a condition of statehood, as many communities continued to try and practice the ideal until 1909.

    I do know what the Lord thinks of Socialism. There have been many prophets that have spoken out against socialism. Since Prophets speak the word and thoughts of God, I am quite certain that God does not approve of socialism.

    Actually, having all things in common is not socialism. The primary difference between socialism and the United Order is force and property ownership. Socialism requires that the government force you to live a certain way and the state owns everything. The United Order is the opposite, it is voluntary and you retain ownership of your property. Just look at what happens when people live under socialism, you get thousands or even millions of people murdered to maintain order. In the United Order, the worst that has happened when people voluntarily live that way you have a few people that starve because eventually somebody figures out they don't have to work for their share.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 8, 2014 2:20 p.m.

    Still waiting for the "Poor" to say something.

    I would really like to hear what they have to say (not through one of the usual posters who claim to be poor).

    Do they REALLY want businesses (with jobs) to stay away?

    Would they really like SLC/Utah to be managed more like the bankrupt cities of Detroit or Chicago (with the associated poverty and crime)?

    Do they want handouts (that keep them poor)... or do they want jobs?

    Let's hear from the poor! Do you think Utah is poorly managed? I mean 3% unemployment is a GOOD thing... isn't it?

  • Sweet Ginger Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2014 3:46 p.m.

    I recently did some research on early preschool education for at-risk kids; I could never have imagined the tremendous cost savings of paying for a year or two of preschool! Special education cost are 1.5 times as much as the regular classroom costs. Kids that start behind tend to stay behind ... these kids end up having much higher rates of teen pregnancy, incarceration, lower life-time incomes, etc. All of this can be averted (and with a tremendous savings by not paying for years of special ed) through early intervention.

    Some say the mentally ill should pay for themselves? Their mental illness often prevents them from paying for themselves. Also, your children fall off your health insurance at a certain age. This leaves someone to pay out-of-pocket costs for medication and treatment. A friend of mine has paid $600 a month for years for her mentally ill sister (her mom has passed away and her dad, who has now also passed was a school teacher, unable to afford the $600). Taking care of the mentally ill requires a community ... govt. programs are at least inclusive of everyone.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    July 9, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    @2 bits -- Why are the only "liberal" places you mention Detroit and Chicago. I guess I could say "Do you want your state to be like Alabama or Mississippi," both deep red states that are probably about on a par with Detroit and Chicago. How about asking if I want an educational system like Massachusetts or the high paying jobs of New York City. There are rich and poor red and blue. You can't cherry pick the best red and the worst blue.