Comments about ‘Jay Evensen: Large families are not a burden on Utah taxpayers’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 20 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

Entitlement is only a slur if the person saying it view it as one. I don't see it that way. I think every child is entitled to have the opportunity to get a decent education and parents should be entitled to have some support to help raise a child. Some people just want to think better of themselves if their gov't support is through a child tax credit rather than something like food stamps.

Durham, NC

The thing is, if you are going to look at cutting "entitlements", education funding has to be on the table. A family of four kids cost the state a minimum $32,000 a year to provide education for them. Add on top of that the standard deduction for each child... and it is easy to see that a family of 4 children gets at least a $18,000 a year benefit over a like family of two children. Some how I doubt the average Utah household of 4 kids pays $32,000 a year in income and property taxes.

We hear the constant cry of "wealth redistribution" from the ubber conservative crowd, well this fits nicely that profile. The more kids you have, the more the cost to the state and the less taxes you pay.

I am not saying it is wrong, but it sure fits the profile of both entitlements and wealth redistribution. Before people start complaining about other's entitlements, perhaps they should look at their own.

Far East USA, SC

Lets look at the numbers

The average cost of a year of public education in utah is over $8000, or $100,000 for 12 years in 2008 dollars.

For a family with 5 kids, that is over $500,000 just for grades 1-12. Add additional for college.

A family with a similar income with 1 kid pays more to educate one kid than the 5 child family pays to educate 5.

How is that not an entitlement?

The cost to taxpayers for lifetime Medicare is similar to the cost of 12 years of public school

But, somehow Medicare is an entitlement and Education is not.

A little consistency here.

Midwest City, USA, OK

So far, none of these comments indicate having even read through the article. Rather they seem like those stating them read the upper part, then skipped by the majority of it competely. UtahBlueDevil's comment in particular,
"ubber conservative crowd"
Is exactly the divisive, non-productive type of speaking brought up.

To very shortly recap this article; benefits to children far and away don't financially make up for the cost of raising them, and raising them is a benefit to society. Food stamps maintain some people for their lives, but educating and caring for children provides bodies to do the work that will pay for those food stamps in a couple of decades.

Springville, UT

Utahns just need to suck it up, raise taxes, and spend more on education. You want the kids? Pay for it. It's simple. Sacrifice for the children.

Far East USA, SC

"benefits to children far and away don't financially make up for the cost of raising them, and raising them is a benefit to society."

I completely agree. Children cost a lot. Are you suggesting that the taxpayer should "make up for the cost of raising them?"

Could you imagine going to you neighbor and saying. "We have decided to have another child. Would you mind paying a bit more in taxes to help offset the costs"

I think that most people feel that society benefits from having educated children. And I believe that most people are happy to share in the cost.

What is at issue here is who should bear the brunt of the cost. I doubt anyone will suggest that parents should pay 100% of the education costs.

Surely one (especially a conservative) would espouse the idea that those who use a service should pay the bulk of the costs.

Again, the question. Why should those who use the schools the most, pay the least?

Poplar Grove, UT

So I have a coworker who has the exact same job title as I do, has worked where I work for around the same amount of time. I have one kid, he has 7. Why is it my job to subsidize the fact that he wants 7 kids? Because of tax breaks he gets for his herd of children I make 20% less take home, even though our base salaries are within $1000 per year. I paid a lot in taxes when I was single, I pay a lot now. I don't mind paying for education, even when I didn't have a kid. I used the public system, i'm OK paying back in. But lets make it more fair. It's your choice to have kids, but why is it our job to pay for them? If you can't afford 7 kids without the rest of us paying for them maybe have 5, or have 3, then adopt 3 more when your first group is older. Either way I have a hard time paying way in taxes because you choose to have kids you don't want to pay for.

Durham, NC

@Jamescmeyer - you see. I see it a different way. As the article does say, what is an "entitlement" seems to vary on if you are benefiting from it or not. We scream about government subsidizing healthcare insurance for families, which has a very real positive impact on society, and yet ignore or give a pass to other "entitlements" like education that cost multiples per child of what it cost to ensure one family.

We get constant arguments on this forum about wealth redistribution... and yet most don't see that they themselves have or are also recipients of these benefits. Most people don't even come close to paying even a fraction in taxes of the cost of educating their child. And yet they are quick to point out benefits others receive they feel are unjustified.

I never said education isn't a justifiable entitlement - but lets call it for what it is.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

This then is the other side of the "entitlement" coin. When we sail off to crusade against all forms of govt. involvement and entitlement we may not notice that we too have an ox to be gored.

If govt. is to do virtually nothing, our society would be markedly different - and at risk of failure. Time to give the most strident voices a rest and lest some calm and sanity return.


The point everyone is making is that other people should not pay more to educate your children than you do. I have three grown children who attended public school, so I guess I'm part of the "I got mine" crowd; but I always contributed to schools with both time and money in every way I could; so I don't really feel hypocritical.

I have 5 sets of BIL/SILs. 3 of them have 5, 6, and 8 children respectively. They consider it a point of honor that during their children's formative years, none of them ever paid a single penny of income tax. They brag about it.

Meanwhile, as I don't own a home (my choice, as their large families are their choices), I have always paid very high taxes - even when my children were young.

There is something inherently wrong with this system.

Salt Lake City, UT

You want more bang for your education buck? Limit the number of school districts, or restructure with a state-level district office supporting minimalistic local school districts. Let's take a clue from the Utah winter Olympics, where a lot of volunteers saved a lot of money. Integrate the district offices with the school board offices. The Jordan/Canyons districts split was financially irresponsible - we need to combine districts, not multiply them. Eliminating deductions- well- there are a lot of deductions besides the personal one. Looking at all that money gives one a sense of power, but it is our money. And why give NSA a tax deferral? What about state spending in other areas? All these things need to be looked at.

Taylorsville, 00

Ah, the Tea Party now has a new talking point with which to cut education further. Before we go that route, could we go to places like Somalia, Bangladesh and even other nations where an illiterate, unsupported population's only choice for work is slave labor, and see who has the better deal, we in 'entitlement/taxation' burdened lands, or they in abject poverty where there are no entitlements and not much to tax?

American Fork, UT

"Entitlement is only a slur if the person saying it view it as one. I don't see it that way. I think every child is entitled to have the opportunity to get a decent education and parents should be entitled to have some support to help raise a child." Substitute the words "health care" for "decent education" and see if it works.

Holladay Mom
Holladay, UT

Jay, sorry but you’ve got it wrong. Every Utah family - especially large families - need this bill to pass. Why? Utah spends the least per student on education and is the lowest achieving state on standardized test scores in our demographic peer group. Bill 118 sends SERIOUS money right into the classroom, managed by our community councils, which has the potential to lower class size by a third at the elementary level. Bill 118 is tax fairness. In Utah, the way we pay for public education is backwards. Under our current system the more a family takes advantage of public education, the less that family pays. As a fiscally conservative parent with a large family I would be THRILLED to contribute about $200 annually per family to provide a classroom size for my child which now we would only find at a private school with a price tag of $6.000 annually per child. Parents in my neighborhood are ‘voting with their feet’ by taking their kids to private schools at great cost. Conservatives say a flat tax, or tax fairness, is the way to go. As a Republican I say let’s practice what we preach!

Church member
North Salt Lake, UT

I like how the author talks about "research" and "evidence" that supports the idea that we need to keep growing and expanding as a species. The problem with research and evidence is that you can find research to support any opinion or idea. If you want to think that we never landed on the moon there is "evidence" to support that. What people need to do is look at all sides of the story. Look at all the facts. Read articles from many scientists, not just those that you agree with politically. Looking at it from all angles gives you the best chance to make the correct decision.

When 95% of all the scientists in the world agree on something (climate change, overpopulation) they are usually right. Not all the time, but most of the time.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

OK, Jay, fine, but is it fair for my neighbor who has 12 kids to pay NO income tax toward their education? He has a good job and makes a good living, but the exemptions zero out his Utah income tax. Even he feels uncomfortable about it (not enough to pony up voluntarily, though).

Orem, UT

What if every adult in the world suddenly decided to be completely self absorbed and flat out refused to ever have any children? "They are a burden", "they cost too much", and they "cramp my style".

You can bet that the society would quickly realize that there would be no rising generation to build things, pay taxes, and support them in their old age. Politicians would quickly set up special funds to not only give tax relief to families with children, but would probably also actually pay people to have them.


1covey says, Let's take a clue from the Utah winter Olympics, where a lot of volunteers saved a lot of money.

The Winter Olympics were a short-time, unique, and exciting event. Volunteers worked very hard for a short period of time. they also received some significant perks - you still see those jackets all over the valley.

A school needs volunteers every day, 180 days per year. Many of the jobs are not exciting. And people only want to volunteer in their neighborhood schools - not at the schools that really need volunteers.

Kearns, UT

I'd be in favor re re-distributing Pat and Dan Jones' wealth and putting it into schools. I'm pretty sure that they no longer have any kids at home and have more money now than they did 30 years ago.

Eugene, OR

I have to agree with Church member. The rationale behind having large families (at least in this article) is pretty clearly a thin veneer for a go-forth-and-multiply religious precept. There are seven billion people on the planet and humanity might suffer unless we all have large families? Really? This reminds me of the knots some people tie themselves into while looking for a justification for outlawing same-sex marriage that isn't "because God said so."

Look, if a large family is something you're capable of handling, great (I'm the oldest of seven kids myself), but I only have one child myself, since that's all I can emotionally and financially afford. Just because I'm one of those liberals doesn't mean that I can't take "personal responsibility"...

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