Buenos días. It's Monday.

  • ❄️ Today's weather: 1–3 inches of snow, with a high of 32°.

Today's newsletter is 876 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Boosting teacher salaries

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Gov. Spencer Cox proposed increasing every teacher's compensation in the state by $6,000 when he unveiled his 2024 state budget plan last week.

Why it matters: If approved by the state Legislature, it would be the largest teacher compensation increase in the state's history, Cox told reporters during his news conference at Centennial Junior High School in Kaysville.

By the numbers: The $200.7 million proposed investment would provide every Utah teacher a $4,600 salary increase and a $1,400 boost in benefits.

  • In Utah, the average starting salary for a teacher is about $48,000 per year.
  • Overall, Cox is proposing a $1.5 billion investment in education.

Between the lines: The proposal comes after the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst reported a budget surplus of $1.3 billion for 2022, according to KUTV.

  • Teachers could see the proposed raises by the end of June 2023, Cox said.

What they're saying: "We love our teachers. They have sacrificed so much over the past few years. They've taken on so much, and one way we can award them is by paying them more," Cox said.

  • In a statement, Renée Pinkney, president of the Utah Education Association, the state's largest public education employee association, applauded the proposed salary increases.

Catch up quick: During the 2022 legislative session, Cox threatened to veto a $36 million school voucher bill and said he would not support the measure until teacher salaries in the state started at $60,000 per year.

Full story

2. Prosecuting polygamous wives

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Court documents in the case against polygamous leader Samuel Bateman allege he abused multiple children, but the most serious federal charges are against Bateman's wives.

Driving the news: Three of Bateman's wives were charged in federal court last week with impeding a foreseeable prosecution and kidnapping eight girls who investigators say were "acquired or taken" as brides in Bateman's sect.

  • The girls had been placed in foster care after Bateman, 46, was arrested in September on the Utah-Arizona border but escaped their group homes during Thanksgiving weekend.
  • They were found a few days later in Spokane, Washington. Investigators say the three women charged were involved in getting them out of Arizona.

Catch up quick: Bateman started an offshoot of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and declared himself a prophet in 2019.

  • He was arrested in August near Flagstaff, Arizona when officers found three girls, 11 to 14, in an unventilated trailer he was hauling.
  • He was arrested again in September when agents raided his home in search of evidence of sexual abuse and underage marriages, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Details: Bateman was charged with three counts of child abuse in Arizona, each carrying a possible sentence of up to 3 ½ years in prison.

Between the lines: The three women charged with kidnapping were themselves victims of Bateman, an attorney for one of the women says.

  • That woman was "groomed and victimized" by Bateman, attorney Daniel Kaiser told ABC News.
  • Another woman charged was married to Bateman when she was underage and "almost certainly" became pregnant before she was 18, investigators wrote in charging documents.

3. Fry Sauce: A blend of headlines

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚨 East High School was deemed safe after students evacuated Friday due to a bomb threat. (KUTV)

🚆 Free public transit for a year is included in Gov. Spencer Cox's 2024 budget proposal. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

🌨️ The National Weather Service is warning Utahns of a large winter storm that will last until Tuesday morning. Wasatch mountains are expected to receive 8 inches to 2 feet of snow. (KSL.com)

🚨 The Utah Highway Patrol is reporting 284 deadly crashes this year, a 3% increase compared to 2021. (FOX 13)

4. 🧑‍💻 Utah's unusual employee perks

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Each year, Utah Business magazine surveys thousands of employees around the state to identify the "best companies to work for," and this year's list highlights some unusual perks and benefits.

Why it matters: Utah's labor market has been tight all year.

  • That means employers may have to do more to recruit and retain workers.

Details: Employees who were surveyed cited onsite pickleball courts, an office massage chair and catered lunches alongside more conventional benefits, like unlimited paid time off.

  • The Lehi marketing firm Big Leap offers onsite haircuts and a climbing club.
  • LoanPro, a software company in Farmington, provides a golf simulator and birthday presents.
  • Stone Security in Salt Lake takes employees to Lagoon Amusement Park for a day.

Read more about the Utah companies that won their workers' praise.

Is a new job in your future?

💼 Check out who's hiring around the city.

  1. Account Executive, Senior at Canon.
  2. Software Engineer at Utah Jazz.
  3. Strategic Alliance Sales Director (CRE) - Digital Supply Chain at PWC.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. Food fight: Holiday drinks

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Erin and Kim here. With nearly two weeks left to go until Christmas, we decided to try the tastiest holiday coffee drinks Salt Lake County has to offer.

Kim's pick: Azúcar Café

A to-go cup of coffee on a counter top.
Azúcar's white chocolate peppermint mocha. Photo: Kim Bojórquez

Details: I ordered their hot, white peppermint mocha with oat milk and white chocolate shavings on top. While I typically don't enjoy overly sweet drinks, the flavors in this beverage were subtle and delicious.

Cost: $4.50

Location: 2843 South 5600 W Suite. 120, West Valley City

Erin's pick: La Barba Coffee & Breakfast Tacos

A latte with milk foam drizzled in the shape of a tree.
La Barba's sweet cardamom latte. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

Details: The sweet cardamom latte has just enough of that holiday spice to taste seasonal without making you feel like you're drinking out of a potpourri diffuser.

Cost: $4.50

Location: 155 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City

🫢 Kim was not expecting "The White Lotus" season finale.

🍪 Erin is baking Drömmar cookies from her family's recipe.

This newsletter was edited by Ross Terrell and copyedited by Natasha Smith.