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News Brief: Tax Breaks, Health Care & Bison Waste

A bison browses through grass on Antelope Island.
Brian Albers / KUER
A new study highlights the link between bison migration and the animal's food supply. This story and more in today's news brief.

Monday morning, December 2, 2019

Central Utah

Ski Resorts — Land Swap

Four Utah ski resorts are backing out of proposed land swaps that would have set aside some of their mountainside terrain for conservation in exchange for public lands near their bases. The resorts made the decision after determining steep-slopes land is worth much less than that of acreage at the base. The proposed land exchanges would give resorts more land for development to accommodate visitors, while conserving other parcels. Executives with Solitude, Brighton, Snowbird and Alta resorts informed a planning commission of their decision in a letter last month. — Associated Press


Childless Tax

Utahns without kids could see a tax increase under a tax reform plan the legislature is considering. GOP lawmakers want to pass a sweeping tax package by the end of the year. It includes an income tax cut and new sales taxes on groceries and services. Families would get a tax exemption of twenty five-hundred dollars per child. But that means most individuals and small families might not get a tax cut, and some may even see their taxes go up. Lawmakers may allow one exemption for childless couples and empty nesters. Read the full story— Nicole Nixon

Utahns Health Enrollment

The number of Utah residents enrolling in insurance plans using the federal health exchange has surpassed the number who used the system last year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says 62,090 Utah residents purchased insurance using the exchange as of Nov. 23. The agency's data shows slightly more than 56,000 people had enrolled by the same time last year. The health exchange's open enrollment period began Nov. 1 and is scheduled to run through Dec. 15. — Associated Press

Mountain West

Bison Green Up

Hoofed animals follow spring green as they migrate. But bison in Yellowstone National Park are encouraging their own food supply as they move. That’s according to a new study from biologists in Yellowstone. The act of chomping down the grass encourages its growth along with the nutrients from the bison’s waste. The study also highlights the sheer amount of land that bison need, which can affect how they’re managed in the future. Read the full storyIvy Engel, Wyoming Public Radio

Park Rangers At The Border

Park rangers are being sent from national parks in our region to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist U.S. Border Patrol officers. But it’s unclear how many and from where. The Department of Interior says it won’t release any information, citing “operational security.” According to media reports, Utah’s Zion National Park, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, and Nevada’s Lake Mead National Recreation Area are among those sending rangers to the border. Read the full storyNoah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

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