News Release

User Fees Offer Attractive Features that Will Help with Utah’s Growth Challenges

August 11, 2021 (Salt Lake City) – The 2020 Census results confirmed what Utah residents already sensed: the Beehive State grew faster than any state in the country over the past decade, more than doubling the national growth rate. Growth brings opportunity, but it also brings challenges, as Utahns need an affordable place to live, water to care for basic needs, roads and other infrastructure to support a rapidly growing economy, clean air to breathe, schools and teachers to develop the workforce, and many other attributes of quality growth. In the coming years, Utah leaders must make significant investments if the state is to continue to prosper and preserve life quality. User fees – a payment charged directly to a service beneficiary cover the cost of a government good or service (as opposed to general taxes) – can help.

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute today released timely research on how user fees can help policymakers manage Utah’s growth-related fiscal challenges. Fees help government function more like a private market by aligning supply and demand, reducing subsidization, and creating greater transparency.

“Utah faces relentless growth, changing cost structures, structural economic changes, and funding tradeoffs,” said Phil Dean, a senior research fellow at the Gardner Institute and lead author of the report. “These chang