Somehow, it always seems to surprise conservative Utah political leaders when the costs of education are added up. The term "free public education" doesn't mean the government's job in providing all Americans with the basic knowledge they need to succeed in society can be done without a substantial investment of tax revenue.
Still, Gov. Gary Herbert appeared astonished by a Utah Office of Higher Education report last week that stated what should be obvious: State funding for higher education will have to increase significantly to meet Herbert's goal of 66 percent of all Utahns with postsecondary education by 2020.
The report estimated that goal will require an increase of 11 percent a year in public investment significantly more than the 2 percent average annual increase the Utah Legislature has given the state's colleges and universities over the past decade.