Our state Legislature is to be complimented for keeping our state solvent during the recession and for helping to create one of the best business climates in the nation. But the resulting population explosion may have caused some unintended consequences.
In the last 10 years, the state's population increased by about 584,000 people, and in that same time Salt Lake County grew by about 132,000 people. That influx of people has been a major factor in the increased demand on housing and the inflated real estate prices that have been preventing many of our young families, even those with stable jobs in a depressed market, from being able to purchase starter homes. That increase in population has increased the problems of funding public education, public safety, transportation and other social services. And I suspect the increase has been a major factor in the increased air quality problems we have been having.
Now the Legislature is strongly considering moving the state prison from the south end of the Salt Lake Valley so that area can be further developed and turned into our own little Salt Lake Silicon Valley. When that happens, will we celebrate that we have finally brought California to Utah, having surpassed even the smog of Los Angeles?