Comments about ‘Is Utah really the best managed state? What would the poor say?’

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Published: Sunday, July 6 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Virginia Beach, VA

"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

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

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

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.

Vernal, UT

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

re: FanOfTheSith

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

Kearns, UT

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.

Here, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

"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

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

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

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.

Murray, Utah

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.

San Diego, CA

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

Wasatch Front, UT

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.


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

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

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

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.

salt Lake, UT

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.

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