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Situational awareness - March 5, 2020

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City


There are 6 working days remaining in the 2020 Utah Legislature

7 days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (3/12/2020)

19 days to the statewide neighborhood caucus meetings (3/24/2020)

51 days to the Utah Republican and Democratic state conventions (4/25/2020)

117 days to the 2020 Utah primary elections (6/30/2020)

243 Days to the 2020 election (11/3/2020)

326 days to the start of the 2021 Utah Legislature (1/25/2021)

Here are the stories you need to pay attention to this morning:

  • Lawmakers considering a slight income tax rate decrease this year.
  • Poll: Utahns believe a tax cut will help the economy
  • Bloomberg drops out following Super Tuesday


It's almost time for our third-annual "Utah political bracket" contest where we pit the 64 top Utah politicos against each other in our own version of March madness.

Will last year's winner, Greg Hughes, triumph again, or will another claim the championship belt?

If you would like to be part of our selection committee to set the field of 64, send me an email at

Thanks for subscribing to Utah's must-read daily political news rundown.

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_08.jpgPoll shows Utahns believe an income tax cut would benefit the state's economy
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Just over half of all Utah voters believe their state taxes are too high, a new Y2 Analytics survey shows.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_04.jpgLawmakers considering a slight income rate cut this year
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Lawmakers are eyeing a slight tax rate decrease as tax relief this year, possibly dropping the overall income tax rate from the current 4.95 percent to 4.9 or 4.89 percent. 
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_31.jpg'This is basically our last option.' Legislative leaders pitch plan to overhaul public schools funding in Utah
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
House leaders said Wednesday morning a proposal to add some services for the disabled and children to the current constitutional earmark for income tax is about providing budget surety for Utah's public schools.
images/1000px_Mugs/Kristen_Cox_02.jpgGuest opinion: Killing me with your kindness
By Kristen Cox
What started as a beautiful California day was about to become a series of jarring events that had me questioning, once again,  people's fundamental assumptions. I had landed at the Sacramento airport and was on my way to give a presentation to a group of CIO's and CTO's from around the state.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200304_Utah_Jobs.jpgUtah's unemployment rate inches up slightly, remains below national average
By News release
Utah's nonfarm payroll employment for January 2020 grew by an estimated 2.9%, adding 44,900 jobs to the economy since January 2019. Utah's current employment level registers 1,568,600. December's year-over job growth has been revised down to 2.9%. 
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_27.jpgLawmakers proposing changes to education funding earmark while guaranteeing money for public education
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
The idea, is told, is to basically add three words to the Utah Constitution: "disabled and children."
images/1000px_Logos/2020_Buttons.jpgSanders, Trump win Utah Super Tuesday vote
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Moving Utah's presidential nominating contest from a caucus to a primary, and putting it on Super Tuesday paid off in spades for the state this year. 
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_16.jpgExclusive: Lawmakers are in negotiations with stakeholders over possible changes to education funding
By Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick
Legislative leaders and education stakeholders have been quietly discussing either changing or eliminating Utah's constitutional requirement that all income taxes must be spent on public or private education. At the same time, a new poll shows a slim majority of Utahns would support doing away with that constitutional earmark.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgWho doesn't love a blimp? - Bernick and Schott on politics podcast
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick discuss the top Utah political news as we careen into the final weeks of the 2020 Utah Legislative session.
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_03.jpgPoll shows Utahns want legislators to cut taxes this year
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Three-fourths of Utahns want the state Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert to cut taxes now, a new Y2 Analytics poll finds.
images/1000px_Mugs/David_Hursey_01.jpgGuest opinion: The coronavirus: A black swan?
By David Hursey
White swans have historically been so common that black ones were almost mythical. Nowadays, the phrase has been popularized by author Nassim Taleb as a phenomenon that comes as a surprise, has a huge impact, and then gets inappropriately rationalized later with the benefit of hindsight.

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



The Democratic field narrows

After Super Tuesday, Democrat Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race on Wednesday and endorsed Joe Biden [New York Times].

Elizabeth Warren is reportedly assessing her path forward after falling short in several states on Super Tuesday [AP].

Joe vs. Bernie

Joe Biden had a great night on Super Tuesday, but that doesn't mean he'll be able to put Bernie Sanders away in the Democratic race anytime soon [Bloomberg].


The House passed $7.8 billion in emergency funding to respond to the coronavirus outbreak [Bloomberg].

The death toll from the virus in the US hits 11, including the first fatality outside of Washington State [AP].

President Donald Trump falsely blamed the Obama administration was responsible for making it harder to implement widespread testing for the virus [CNN].

The coronavirus is prompting many conferences to pull the plug on their events this year. So far, canceled conferences have resulted in $480 million in losses so far [Recode].

Despite the economic uncertainty, private payrolls jumped 183,000 in February [CNBC].

Supreme Court

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rebuked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday after Schumer attacked two of the conservative justices over abortion [Politico].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/SL_Chamber_Logo_1000.jpgSL Chamber provides Coronavirus resources for businesses
The Salt Lake Chamber has announced that an online clearinghouse for all businesses has gone live at to access information and best practices to prepare for the Coronavirus.
images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Thrives_Podcast_Logo.jpgUtah Thrives podcast: The state auditor's take on how to get Utah's fiscal house in order
In this episode of Utah Thrives, we sit down with Utah State Auditor John Dougall to discuss his views on the state's fiscal challenges, particularly in light of the recent tax reform effort. We also discuss the transportation funding questions that he suggests stand at the heart of the matter.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200303_Coronavirus.jpgLearn how to protect your workplace from the coronavirus
Employers, are you concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may impact your business?
Press release: Devin Thorpe declares candidacy in 3rd congressional district
Devin Thorpe, a Democrat, has announced he is running to represent the people in Utah's 3rd Congressional District.

More National Headlines


1496 - King Henry VII of England issues letters patent to John Cabot and his sons, authorizing them to explore unknown lands.

1770 - Boston Massacre. Five Americans, including Crispus Attucks, are fatally shot by British troops in an event that would contribute to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.

1836 - Samuel Colt patents the first production-model revolver, the .34 caliber.

1933 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares a "bank holiday," closing all U.S. banks and freezing all financial transactions.

1946 - Winston Churchill coins the phrase "Iron Curtain" in his speech at Westminster College, Missouri.

1953 - Joseph Stalin dies in Moscow after suffering a stroke.

1970 - The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons goes into effect after ratification by 43 nations.

Wise Words


"The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax."Albert Einstein

Lighter Side

Pence Experience

"What medical experience does Mike Pence have? At best, he looks like a CPR doll that won't let you do mouth-to-mouth on it."- SETH MEYERS

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