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Situational Analysis - February 22, 2021

It's Monday and the last week of February. How did that happen?! Today also marks the beginning of #RealBreadWeek. Get out there and get baking. If you need recipes, I hear Paul Hollywood has some. 

In case you missed it over the weekend, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas took his family - and his college roommate - across the border in search of safety, warmth and clean water while AOC raised $5 million for Texas nonprofits assisting millions of Texans who found themselves without heat, electricity and/or water. 

It's also George Washington's birthday, as well as Zitkla-, who is today's Google Doodle.

If you only have time for one thing today: Read about Michelle Amos, NASA engineer who worked on the Mars 2020 rover. She has a master's degree in engineering management and spent 30 years at NASA and the John F. Kennedy Space Center. She spoke about the "seven minutes of terror," aka, the rover's landing on Mars: "We tested that system over and over. We knew that it would land correctly. But that's a simulation," she said. "It's a whole different story when you are in the Martian atmosphere. All the projections for wind, temperature and gravity that helped you to be successful using flight software on Earth - it's got to work in a Martian atmosphere. That's the nail-biting part of it." She watched the landing via Zoom, along with 200 LDS missionaries that she and her husband supervise in Louisiana. 


11 days to the end of the 2021 Utah Legislature (3/5/21)
51 days until the end of the Cox/Henderson administration's first 100 days (04/14/2021)
67 days until the Biden/Harris administration's first 100 days are up (04/30/2021)

Today At Utah Policy

images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Taxpayers_logo.pngGuest opinion: You CAN have it both ways, protecting air quality and equalizing road funding
By Rusty Cannon
Roads cost money. Lots of money. In 2019, the state of Utah spent over $1.3 billion on road maintenance and construction. With a booming population and strong economic growth, those costs will continue to grow. The majority of the revenue that funds maintenance and operations of our roads comes from gas tax. In the tax policy realm, this has always been viewed as a "user fee" form of taxation. The more you drive and wear out the roads, the more gas you buy, and as part of that gas purchase, the more tax or "user fee" you pay. If you drive less, you pay less. That is a fair system.
images/mugs-300/Kate_Moss.pngGuest opinion: Financial disaster prep - 4 ways to prepare for the unexpected
By Kate Moss
Don't Let Your Financial Footing Be Uprooted4 Ways to Prepare for the UnexpectedIf coronavirus, last year's earthquakes, windstorms and wildfires have taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected. It's time to focus on a plan of action for when disaster strikes. Preparation is a way of life here in Utah, and no detail is too small when planning for catastrophe whether that's an earthquake, wildfire, or a major windstorm. 
images/Resized_Logos/Tweet.pngTweets of the day: Friday fun
By Holly Richardson
This week's lighter side round-up: incredible cave art, animals and a bit of poetry

Utah Headlines

Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


COVID Corner

National Headlines

Policy News

images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Dems_logo.pngUtah Democrats stand with Black constituents
During Black History Month, and in all months, Utah Democrats stand with Black Lives. Our members understand and appreciate the deep commitments to Utah that Black Americans have made, and in a time when Black lives are under attack, our members and legislative caucuses are determined to protect Black Utahns.
Salt Lake City rents up 2.4% since last year
Rent prices in Salt Lake City averaged at $1,269 in January after a 2.4% increase since last year. Renters make up 48% of Salt Lake City's population. Despite this, rates in Utah's most populous city are still below the national average of $1,392.Here are some other highlights from the  January Rent Report:
images/Resized_Logos/Zions_Bank_Logo_01.pngHeading into 'America Saves' week, Utahns' savings accounts soaring
SEVEN TIPS FOR HANGING ON TO PANDEMIC SAVINGS GAINSAmerica Saves Week Urges Saving as Spending Picks UpAmericans have been saving more than ever during the pandemic. Despite job losses and widespread economic impacts, the personal savings rate (the percentage of people's income remaining after taxes and spending) was at 13.7% at the end of 2020. That's nearly double pre-pandemic savings levels, which hovered in the 6-8% range over the past decade.Locally, Utahns are socking away record amounts, signaling a statewide savings boon. Zions Bank saw deposits across its Utah and Idaho footprint grow by $4.87 billion in 2020, a 30% increase from 2019.
images/Logos/SL-Chamber-Logo.pngBusiness community updates dashboard to include state vaccination efforts and downtown report
The Salt Lake Chamber's Roadmap to Recovery Coalition, in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, has refreshed the Economic Dashboard for January to help business leaders know where Utah sits in the overall recovery. This tool tracks the state's path to a full and complete economic recovery from the pandemic recession and provides context for decision makers. "The ongoing economic recovery though still K-shaped is gaining traction across the state and our unemployment has dropped to 3.6% which many experts consider full employment," said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance.
images/mugs-300/Lisa_McDonald.pngLisa McDonald to lead community development for the Salvation Army
The Salvation Army in Utah is pleased to announce that Lisa McDonald has accepted the new role of Grant and Community Development Manager for the Salt Lake City Corps, Ogden Corps, and St. George Outpost. She will be responsible for grant writing, community development, and corporate partnerships throughout the State of Utah. 

Business Headlines

  • Why some Texans are getting sky-high energy bills (KSAT) - The surge in pricing is hitting people who have chosen to pay wholesale prices for their power, which is typically cheaper than paying fixed rates during good weather, but can spike when there's high demand for electricity.
  • McDonald's finally enters the chicken sandwich wars (Quartz) - This week, McDonald's becomes the latest US restaurant chain to jump on the chicken sandwich craze, rolling out its version with original, spicy, and deluxe variations, on Feb. 24.

On This Day In History

(From History.com)

  • 1732 - George Washington is born in Virginia.
  • 1819 - The U.S. acquires Spanish Florida.
  • 1876 - Zitkla- is born. Granddaughter of Sitting Bull, a writer and Sioux Indian activist, she spent much of her adult life in Utah. She was instrumental in lobbying for citizenship rights for Native Americans and founded the National Council of American Indians. She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 
  • 1950 - Dr. J is born.
  • 1980 - U.S. hockey team beats the Soviets in the "Miracle on Ice."
  • 1997 - Dolly the Sheep is cloned.
  • 2014 - 'El Chapo,' the world's most-wanted drug kingpin, is captured in Mexico.

Wise Words

"The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness."

~George Washington, in his farewell address to the nation.

Lighter Side

Lighter Side

Q. What's white and goes up?
A. A confused snowflake!

Q. What flies when it's born, lies when it's alive, and runs when it's dead?
A. Snow.

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