Jay Evensen: Large families are not a burden on Utah taxpayers


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  • Mormon for Ron Paul SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    Looks like someone needs to study "The proper role of government" by Ezra Taft Henson. or any of the books he tells the saints to read such as the Law by Batista.

    Benson and Young condemned public education and programs like this that support large families by government funds forms of legalized plunder.

    Such language has not been repealed. This is a church owned newspaper. it is sad to see it spread such propaganda that is in congruent with the Churches canonized view of government found in section 134

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 12:22 a.m.

    The problem is first that large families, as a group, already are paying more through school fees and other taxes (sales and property) than are the others.

    Second that the additional money this would add will rapidly become eroded by student growth, inflation, etc. until we will still be putting in the same amount percentage. Utah's legislative past and other states' past histories with similar windfalls have shown that to be true.

    If we were willing as a whole state to fund education more, we already would be. We need to change the dynamics that cause the people and their representatives' feelings on this. I do think that most families would be willing to have their taxes raised to support education if they felt they it would benefit their children rather than a bureaucracy, as they would with community-sized districts.

    The bottom line here is if we were to divide into community-sized districts, we would find more support for funding education properly. Not doing that, we will find that dropping in a few hundred million more in funding, by targeting a group that is already over burdened, will end up being a short-lived increase.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 1:03 p.m.

    In many schools along the Wasatch Front, the larger families tend to be the ones on welfare. It's not always the case, but it is too often what my sisters see in their schools. Unfortunately, these children learn entitlement through free lunch and activity fee waivers. Very few children in these families will escape the culture of poverty of which they are accustomed until we fund our schools better and help them see and understand that there is a better way of life.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Feb. 22, 2014 12:38 p.m.

    Education funds are collected from taxpayers in order to help ensure that the coming generations of citizens are contributing members of society, taxpayers and business creators. That is the only justification for tax-supported schools, because society at large, no matter how many children you have, benefits from an educated populace. It is not a welfare gift to children or parents. Feeding and clothing and caring for children is the contribution made to society by parents. The parents are relieving society of the burden of the greater cost of creating new citizens. When parents home school, society should pay them for relieving the public of even that cost. If home schooling paten were paid half of what it coss the state to educate children, many parents could quit jobs and stay home full time with their children. It would be a win-win for parents and the public.

  • Upson Downs Sandy, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    Just by saying large families are not an extra burden to the taxpayer does not make it so. Large families do receive an education entitlement in Utah. Taxes for education in Utah should be based on the number of kids (tax exeptions) you file for. It should be a head tax, per child you send to public schools. That way everyone is paying his or her fair share of the total cost of education in Utah.

  • Holladay Mom Holladay, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Enjoyed reading the lively debate. Senator Jones is saying SB118 might not go to the floor for debate or vote if more senators don’t show interest. Funding our children’s education is worth debating and voting on! The only way senators will seriously consider about this bill is if WE ALL WRITE THEM AND CALL THEM TODAY! If you’ve never done this before…Go to 'Utah Senate Roster’ where you’ll see their contact information. Email by putting in the subject line what you want like “Let’s support SB118”. For the body of the email keep it short and simple. Finish with your name & address. Email all the senators and consider making a personal call to your senator. One last thing….Conservatives say “flatten the tax and broaden the base”. SB118 does just this! Our kids deserve a better education and we all need to pay our fair share. Let’s start the ball rolling to get us out of last place in funding and standardized test scores!

  • AllSeeingEye Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 9:17 a.m.

    Mr. Evensen says we need creative and radical thinking to deal with Utah's public education funding crisis. I agree. Where do we find such thinking? Mr. Evensen offers no ideas.

    Instead, he stresses (1) being less derisive as we communicate and (2) realizing that raising the next generation is important to society and expensive for families. I agree again.

    Utah likes big families. I like them. I have four children--each of whom has or does benefit from Utah's public education system. We like low taxes in Utah, or so we say. Big families + low taxes = last in the nation in per pupil funding. Not near the bottom, but dead last. Unfortunately, the math is simple.

    I am one parent very willing to have my tax deductions limited to two per family, if all others do the same. That may be radical and creative thinking in Utah. And, I bear no ill will to anyone who disagrees. We simply have to start somewhere.

    While more money, by itself, is not the answer to improving education, I would love to see Utah become just average in per-pupil funding.

    Maybe in my grandchildren's public school careers?

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    Mr. Evensen,

    I believe you are using fallacious reasoning to some degree with the arguments here presented. The family that produces three or four or more future taxpayers could just as easily be producing three or four more people on welfare if the kids are not educated. The responsible, conservative family will pay for their progeny to be properly educated. Period. It's long past time to have those who use the system the most pay their fair share.

  • Lets check the facts Santa Fe, NM
    Feb. 22, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    Does this mean if I home school I should get a tax credit because I'm not burdening the school system yet I'm still required to pay taxes?

  • JKR Holladay, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 7:13 a.m.

    Jay just can't get around the math, as most of these comments remind him. This is a tough issue in this state where most of the legislators are LDS and the LDS church openly supports large families. But fairness deserves its own consideration. Pat Jones and Patrice Arent have raised the issue in a valid and reasonable manner.

    Feb. 21, 2014 5:26 p.m.

    Jsy, You are obviously not in tune with the majority of citizens living in the Salt Lake area. Everyone wants a better education for our children and I believe nobody is against large families but if you decide to have 8 kids then you better be able to pay for them. Should I say that because I have a larger house I should pay less property tax since my utilities, maintenance, and upkeep are more? Should people with smaller homes pay more property tax since their costs are lower? Obviously NO, since I have decided on my own to have the house that I live in. I do not believe asking people to pay more if they use the system more is unfair at all.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 21, 2014 5:21 p.m.


    The gasoline tax cannot realistically be considered a flat tax. It is a usage tax and is more similar to a fee.

    A flat tax (actually a flat percentage tax) applies to income.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    This is a very current topic, this idea if being forced to pay for a service that all do not even want. The MANDATE! Where is the justice of charging the taxpayer for education, for those who do not like, use, or accept the quality of the education offered.

    Yet parents, particularly those who have so little to spare, who home-school or save and scrape to put children through a parochial school, have to pay for public schools - which btw is paid for out of property tax and local sales tax. Property tax is not reduced b'c you have children, I do not believe, and sales tax is not reduced b'c you have children.

    So the private schooler and the home-schooling parents pay for a service that they use not at all, then pay private fees and materials in addition. Public schools? Take it or leave it but PAY for it, or else!! In the land of the free?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 21, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" why to you keep harping on the top 1% that earn about 35% of all income in the us and pay about 40% of all income taxes. Yes, lets look at the wealthy. Yes they only pay on the first $117,000 of income. Then, they can't just dump money into an IRA, they are capped to getting deductions once they have put in $5500. What it comes down to is that for a wealthy person to maintain their lifestyle, they will continue to pay more taxes than you will during their retirement becuase they cannot fund their retirement in the same tax deductable ways that you can.

    But you do need the wealthy. They start many new businesses. Read up on the interview with Larry H. Miller's son. They didn't just start 1 business. They have many businesses operating that employ thousands of people. How many poor people do you know of that start businesses?

    The question is why do you envy the rich so much? Do you aspire to be poor, or do you want to be able to leave your children a good inheritance that will help them do better in life than you did?

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    Feb. 21, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    Like many here, I agree with the premise and only disagree with the hypocrisy of conservatives that love socialism whenever they are directly benefiting from it.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 3:26 p.m.

    Flat income tax doesn't make sense, because it doesn't make sense that a person below poverty pay the same rate as the corporate exec taking over a million every year.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    It would make sense to charge large families for their extra children, 'to be fair' if people with no children or too few children to replace themselves were also charged extra 'to be fair'.

    You see the next generation benefits us all, and even with the present tax system, it is parents who contribute most to any child's upbringing.

    People who don't have any kids don't have anyone in their family contributing to their Social Security when they retire. These people once they retire are no longer productive, making goods or services, yet they are still consumers. The people working to provide what they are consuming are other peoples children. When they retire they quite likely have investments, that they live on besides social security. Who would work at the companies that pay the dividends these investment provide were it not for other peoples children? Who would provide the health care they need, the police protection they need, the national defense they need? Were it not for other peoples children?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    Deep Space 9, Ut
    Ok liberals, lets make this a fair deal.

    We will pay more in taxes per child for education, if you will accept less in Social Security benefits. Since SS was originally designed with families having 4 kids per family for future taxes and benefits, we will make that the baseline. So, no kids means no money, 1 kid means only a 25% benefit. 8 kids would double your SS benefit.

    You forget that it is my large family that will be paying for your retirement. So,do you want more or fewer workers around to help pay for your retirement?

    1:04 p.m. Feb. 21, 2014


    Does it really matter.

    How about I say Fewer --
    and ALL American's pay a flat fixed rate.

    That way, the 1% who own 85% of the wealth would be kicking in their fair share of the retirement as well,
    rather than and being capped at a paltry $65,000 per year.

    And they could be kicked out all together,
    since they don't "need" it anyway.

    $1200 a month to them is an insult.
    Chump change.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 21, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    Ok liberals, lets make this a fair deal.

    We will pay more in taxes per child for education, if you will accept less in Social Security benefits. Since SS was originally designed with families having 4 kids per family for future taxes and benefits, we will make that the baseline. So, no kids means no money, 1 kid means only a 25% benefit. 8 kids would double your SS benefit.

    You forget that it is my large family that will be paying for your retirement. So,do you want more or fewer workers around to help pay for your retirement?

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    I have a novel idea. How about a flat tax with no deductions at all. That way higher income people pay more but everyone does pay the same percentage including "The Poor". Just like the gasoline tax.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 11:15 p.m.

    Isn't the entire premise of Jay's argument promoting...(here it is, folks)... SOCIALISM?!

  • joeandrade Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 10:09 p.m.

    Fortunately, the average life expectancy in our nation today is over 80 years. Every child born will grow up. Nearly all will want a spouse, a home, possessions, transportation, etc. - and an economy which provides them with a job and financial wellbeing.

    The problem is the planet is finite, resources are now limited. Our growth-oriented and fossil fuel-based economy is now seriously damaging the planet - its atmosphere, land, and oceans.

    We must move rapidly towards a sustainable, steady state economy - and that means a stable population. Our local culture's interest in large families, with each child growing up to have his/her own large family, etc. is clearly unsustainable. Our local interest in and expectation for large families is running into the rigid limits of a finite planet, finite resources, climate change, and pollution.

    That's the real problem. The kids understand that. Why can't the 'adults'?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:01 p.m.

    "The entire concept of "punish the children" of large families is the out of line and unwarranted."

    What a creative interpretation of what is being said here. What most people are saying is why is the system set up so that those that use the system the least, pay the most? This isn't about punishing anyone. I have 8 cars. Should I get a reduction in my car taxes because I have multiple. I am helping the economy by owning this many cars - insurance, maintenance, etc. Shouldn't I get a break?

    No one is saying kids, large families are bad. No one is saying punish anyone. No one is saying don't help. But in this day of constant whining about entitlements, it seems a bit odd to have those who use the entitlement the most, pay the least.

    If you are poor, and need help with food… you are entitlement abuser. If you have 8 kids…. hmmmmmm…. what happened to take care of your own?

  • jp3 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 7:17 p.m.

    Truth hurts, doesn't it?

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 5:44 p.m.

    It is hilarious reading these comments. All the people who normally whine and moan about all the moochers getting government benefits are now staunchly defending the proposition that "of course!" the government should give benefits to people with large families. I agree with them (I believe as a society we need to subsidize education), but reading their comments shows the interesting way that people can rationalize. With a certain group, it always comes down to this: If the entitlement benefits ME, it's good. If it benefits anyone else, it's socialism and will cause the end of the world.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 3:13 p.m.

    I have kids, love kids but don't think it's the responsibilty of others to pay for my choices. If you a responsible, family centric, conservative than not to support the idea of limiting exemptions is hypocritical. Let's take responsibilty for ourselves.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    One problem is that the costs to educate children are easily identifiable and are understood. In contrast, the economic benefits to taxpayers for encouraging large families are only described in generalities.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 20, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    "How about TRAX, or the Zoo or the Symphany? We're taxed for all of those things. Most of us have never attended the Symphony, but we pay for it."

    "How about roads?"

    Zoos? You have to pay to get in. You pay more than the person who never goes.

    How about the roads. Yes, we all pay a portion in taxes. But those who dont use the roads pay far less in taxes to maintain the roads than those who use them

    Lets look at your other examples.

    The Symphony? Those who attend pay to attend. They buy tickets which help to subsidize it.
    Those who attend pay MORE for the service than those who dont.

    Trax? You also have to buy a ticket. And pay more to use it than those who dont use it.

    In none of your examples do those who use the service pay less.

    But, you, as many posters have would rather change the discussion to "punish the children of large families."

    When in fact, people just want those who use the service to pay more than those who dont.

    Can anyone really argue against that?

  • djc Stansbury Park, Ut
    Feb. 20, 2014 2:05 p.m.

    The most important part of this argument comes down to what is an entitlement. Seems to differ according to ones political philosophy. Children are important that is true, but who should pay for their care and feeding? Should their parents pay? Or should the childless couple down the street be forced to pay? Mr Evensen seems to be against all government benefits unless, I repeat unless, he is for them as in this case. If he is for the government benefit then it is the right thing to do, if he is against it, it is Socialism or worse. Sometime in our history, U.S. leadership decided that a graduated income tax was the right way to pay. Those with a lot more, pay a little more. Mr Evensen is incensed when this method of payment is offered. He wants those with the least to pay the most. As I started this paragraph it simply a matter of semantics. What is an entitlement. Social Security and Medicare which I paid for my whole life, or a huge tax break for having more kids?

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    If we were debating police protection or military defense, what would the argument be? Would those who have never called a policeman or have neer needed the military to protect their freedom demand that only those who have called the policy or whose liberties have been saved by the military pay for those services? How about roads? Should we convert all roads in Utah to toll roads? Don't forget the Fire Department, the Dog Catcher and all of the other "public" services that most of us will never need and never use. Should be make only those who use those services foot the entire bill? Should we remove all tax credits and/or deductions from those who have used those services? How about the public library? With the Internet, how many of us ever vist the library? How about TRAX, or the Zoo or the Symphany? We're taxed for all of those things. Most of us have never attended the Symphony, but we pay for it.

    The entire concept of "punish the children" of large families is the out of line and unwarranted.

  • One of a Few Layton, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 1:41 p.m.

    I'm on the other side of this problem. My child exemptions are disappearing faster than you can say Bob's your uncle. Not literally. But my point is my income has grown along with my children - 4, while the exemptions are tailing off. So my guess is it all evens out. Bottom line. everyone who is now an adult most likely received the benefit of this exemption or their parents did (most states if not all allow for it) when they were growing up. So whining about it now is just sour grapes. In my opinion, Jones and company have jumped the shark on this one and are taking the misguided approach to funding education in hopes uber conservative and left wing liberal interests will align. If they want to fund education, try taxing the investment income that is otherwise exempt under Utah law.

  • RWSmith6 Providence, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    Evensen does one thing only in his piece--promote the status quo as regards the funding of education. I, too, would never argue against large families, but I do argue that SOMEONE has to pay for the kids' education if K-12 is, in Utah, ever to be funded adequately.

    The innovative thinking he mentions? That's where he could have done us all a favor, and the Lord only knows our governor and legislators need the help. They've been stuck with can't do this/can't do that paralysis for years, fearful of diminishing the potential of economic development if they actually do something to improve K-12 funding as much as is now, after years of neglect, needed.

    Pat Jones' bill is just one suggestion, an old chestnut resurrected Where are the others, the "innovative" ones? What about a state-wide contest starting when the current legislative session ends, legislators having yet again come up empty?

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    These arguments made to justify the tax breaks given to those who decide to have large families are certainly creative. I was particularly entertained by the comments that population growth itself is responsible for cleaner air, conservation measures, technological innovation, etc.

    I think a more accurate way of putting it is that population growth has created very serious problems that we have often solved because we have come together as a community to solve them. As our population grows further, we will again need to address serious problems it causes. If these problems are again temporarily solved, will someone again write an editorial claiming that population growth saved us from problems caused by... population growth?

  • One Viewpoint Orem, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 12:24 p.m.

    Those who argue that parents should foot the whole education bill for their children are in effect saying that there is no commensurate benefit to them in the education of someone else's child. Simply not true, as the article points out. This was recognized long ago when we accepted public education in society. It's an investment that is well worth it. If you want parents to pay the entire investment cost, then would you also be willing to let parents reap the entire investment benefit when those children start paying taxes and benefiting society in numerous other ways? Should parents with large families get larger social security benefits, larger medicare benefits, better access to highways, more local government services, etc. etc.? To be consistent, if you are going to argue that parents should pay the entire cost, you must also argue that parents should be the sole beneficiaries when that investment matures. The idea that we do not reap benefit from helping educate our neighbor's children is ludicrous.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 20, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    "If we want to give parents a break while those children are still minors, I am for it. "

    I dont believe that ANYONE has suggested that we NOT give "parents a break"

    At issue, is the size of the break. Yes, society benefits from an educated society. But certainly the child and the parents benefit the most.

    Why should families who use the system the most, pay less then those who don't use it at all or use it far less?

    How does that fit into the conservative mantra of "personal responsibility"?

  • K55 leamington, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    The tax exemptions, deductions, or credits are offered to promote things that will ultimately be beneficial to society (ie. deductions for mortgages, tax incentives to bring in business, public education, etc). To ensure every kid has access to a decent education is a great benefit to both the community and society as a whole. If we want to give parents a break while those children are still minors, I am for it.

    Remember, those kids will grow up, and the taxes the parents will then pay will go up too. Plus those children will be taxpayers themselves. It is a net win for society. Also remember, it is not a free ride for parents with children. They are paying still paying taxes, but more in the form of fees and more dollars out for sales tax to feed, clothe, and care for the children while they are young.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2014 11:17 a.m.

    How did this become an attack on children or even large families? Senator Jones initial proposal was to do away with all exemptions creating a situation where we would all contribute equally based on our income not our exemptions. To appease the far right senators, she amended her bill to allow for two exemptions.

    It would seem to me that education is other a public service like police, fire protection parks and recreation etc., where we all pay taxes in an equally, or it is a program which should have a user fee attached.

    Our current method is a reverse user fee, where the more you use it, the less you pay and the less you use it the more you pay. That clearly makes no sense to most rationale people.

    I personally believe education is a benefit to the public, and we should all pay equally for it. I am ok if we make it a user fee system, but it needs to cease being a reverse user fee system.

    I would say do away with all exemptions for children and then we all contribute equally for a public good.

  • nycut New York, NY
    Feb. 20, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    Ray says "every part of the future economy depends on these children," but misses what that means.

    "These children" also include tomorrows losers and moochers, criminals and hard cases. It's not all productive little worker bees. In the US, there is a correlation between large family sizes and lower educational levels.

    So, how to make sure we create an educated and productive society?

    Calling into question the continued subsidizing large families is completely legitimate policy discussion to have.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    People who have received a free education, people who are alive, people who are self-absorbed, tell us that children are a nuisance. Children are the reason that we marry. If children were not involved, then why even have a stable family where a father provides and protects and a mother nurtures and loves? Why not just revert to apes and live in trees, coming and going as we feel like it.

    That's exactly what those who disrespect children are telling us. They have "theirs" and they don't want to share. It seems that them must have failed kindergarten when we learned how important other people are and that we don't always get what we want.

    With less than 2 workers contributing Social Security payments to pay for YOUR Social Security, you'd better hope that the rising generation is educated, that it has a strong work ethic and that it pays Social Security taxes.

    The pettiness of people who are "put out" because our society is blessed with children show contempt for our Creator and His plan of Happiness.

  • mamiejane Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    I would be happy if people with large families would at least acknowledge the benefit they get from tax deductions. My niece has five children and a husband who works for the federal government. Their contribution to government subsidized health care is the same as if they had one child...so the tax payers are helping support their family. Yet they complain left and right about the moochers taking advantage of Obamacare. I think well educated children benefit all of society, so although I am childless, I have no problem contributing to our education system. But I don't think there is anything wrong with limiting the tax avoidance we grant to large families.

  • Demo Dave Holladay, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    Sorry Jay, I disagree. As a single man with no dependents, I have no problem paying a reasonable amount of my tax dollars to educate other people's children, mostly because all of society benefits from an educated work force. But why should I pay to educate six children when the couple with 6 children in public schools only pays for two of their progeny, forcing society to pick up the tab for the rest?

    The more children a family has, the less likely it is that those children will receive an education beyond high school, thereby limiting their own blue collar contributions to society, especially if they, too, decide to have 6 kids. Too many kids and too many tax credits are the main reasons our schools are underfunded. Instead of selling off our public lands to educate our children, let's put more of the responsibility where it belongs - on the people who breed them.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Feb. 20, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    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"...

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    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.

    Feb. 20, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    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.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    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).

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    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.

  • Holladay Mom Holladay, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    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!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    "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.

  • DVD Taylorsville, 00
    Feb. 20, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    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?

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    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.

    Feb. 20, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    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.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    @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.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    "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?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    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.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 20, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 20, 2014 6:49 a.m.

    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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 20, 2014 6:44 a.m.

    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.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 2:05 a.m.

    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.