Cheap Students This is getting old. April U.S. Census numbers again show Utah remains dead last in the country for the amount of money spent educating a student. Utah Legislators finally woke up to the fact that schools need money two years ago. But, despite two good years of funding—increasing teacher salaries and overall school spending—It will take many, many years for the state to make up for years of burying its head in the sand. Census numbers show Idaho, the next cheapest state after Utah, currently spends $1,000 more per child than the Beehive State’s $5,437. Utah also retains its lofty perch with the largest class sizes in the country, a problem nearly ignored in this year’s state budget.
Healthy Bureaucracy When poor people pointed out that state rules could cut many off of Utah’s welfare program for the poorest of the poor, the Department of Workforce Services called a meeting to learn about the problem. Utah wants those receiving general assistance to sign up for state health insurance and threatened to cut off meager $261 monthly checks to anyone who failed to sign up. The idea of getting poor people enrolled in health care is fine, but figuring out enrollment periods isn’t easy when you’re living on the street. Besides, the state already has the names of everyone it wants signed up. The problem isn’t fixed yet, but it’s good to know you don’t have to be rich to get the ear of state health bureaucrats.
Itchy Trigger Finger A visit to Utah worked out for a gray wolf six years ago. It was trapped and taken back to its pack in Yellowstone National Park after making an appearance as one of just two gray wolves seen in Utah in 75 years. But on the day gray wolves lost federal Endangered Species Act protection, the Utah wolf and three others were shot in Wyoming. Such shootings are legal since a controversial federal decision that wolf numbers have recovered enough for the animal to fend for itself against ranchers trying to protect livestock. The job of wolf management now falls to states. But, if Wyoming’s quick trigger finger is any indication, the wolf might not be off the endangered list for long.