|David Hansen, Rep. Kay McIff, Tim Sheehan, Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert and Bill Dellos at the Lincoln Day breakfast.|
Some of the dignitaries in attendance were Gary Herbert, Lt. Gov. of Utah, Kay McIff, Utah State Representative, David Hansen representing Senator Orrin Hatch, and Tim Sheehan representing Senator Bennett. Most of these Salt Lakers mentioned they were glad to be out of the smog along the Wasatch front and into the clear sunny air of Emery County.
The meeting was opened by Bill Dellos with a welcome to the assembled crowd. Castle Dale Third Ward Troop #315, Doug Weaver, Scout Master, presented the flag of the United States and Pledge of Allegiance. After the buffet breakfast, the guest speakers explained their recent activities that would effect the State and Emery County.
Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert reported that Gov. Jon Huntsman was progressing in his efforts to grow the economy of Utah with the help of Republican legislators, especially in rural Utah. The party principles are guiding the Republicans allowing the free markets to work, taxes are cut, revenues are up significantly, debt is being cut, more people have jobs, unemployment is down, in October the state wide unemployment rate for Utah was 2.5 percent, it is now down to 2.3 percent. In some Utah counties the unemployment rate is below 2 percent and Utah is considered one of the financially best run states in the United States.
Some people on the other side of the aisle are saying we need to change the direction we are going. What direction do they want to go?
Lt. Gov. Herbert reported that Gov. Huntsman appreciates the support of the Republicans throughout the state. He also said "I appreciate the Republican party principles, capitalism, free markets, local government, individual responsibility and economic development. We have good Republican leadership with some of the best men in the state working to make Utah even better for Utahns."
Lt. Gov. Herbert mentioned each of the county elected officials and how much he appreciated the good work that they were doing. He also mentioned how he much he appreciated Brenda Dugmore, Clerk/Auditor and her work with the recent successful election.
This year the largest ever amount of money will be added to public education ($300 billion) and transportation ($600 million) this will happen along with the second largest tax cut in the states history.
The years before Gov. Huntsman's administration took over, the state spent $65 million a year on roads and highway construction. This year the transportation budget will be $600 million for roads and highway construction.
The economy is growing at record rate. The fastest areas of growth in the economy are construction, mining, natural resources, and manufacturing. The slowest area of growth in the economy is government. Tax cuts do grow the economy and provide additional revenue for the state. We have a fiscally responsible government in Utah.
State Representative Kay McIff discussed the challenges of a State legislator, when there are more than 1,000 bills to consider with solutions looking for problems. With that many bills it is hard to know all about each one of them. However when phone calls, letters and emails are received that focus on a particular bill, then those bills are looked at carefully.
The biggest and most trying issue this year is that of education. In the area of education $300 billion is being added to the budget. We are losing teachers to other states. Even with scholarships that have pay back obligations, which require an agreement, upon obtaining a teaching certificate, the teacher would teach in Utah schools. However almost one third of the teachers choose to pay back the state in cash and work in other states for a higher salary.
Rep. McIff said, "The most divisive issue is the school voucher bill which passed by one vote." He then went on to explain why he voted against the school voucher bill. He explained the argument of providing competition in the field of education. Then he went on to explain, in those areas where private schools are competing with public schools, the private schools take the best and brightest students and when they have a difficult student they send that student to a public school. Because the public school has constitutional duty to take everyone and is subject to the mandate "No Child Left Behind." The public school is not allowed to pick and choose whom they will educate. That is not the way the free market works.
Concurrent college credits while going to high school are helping many students and Utah State University will be offering higher division or four year college courses at Snow College and the College of Eastern Utah which will lead to four year college degree. That allows us to better utilize those facilities.
Natural resources of Utah such as water is desired by Las Vegas, Nev. and more specifically water from the Snake Valley on the Utah and Nevada border. The legislature as proposed to allocate $2 million to drill wells to monitor the water table level around that area. This is an issue because water does not recognize state boundaries.
The state land issues involving the Grand Staircase Monument and the loss of lease revenue from the school sections in the Grand Staircase Monument is again being looked at.
Rep. McIff discussed briefly the centrally assessed properties such as the power plant in Utah. In the past, the State Tax Commission sent notice of the assessment of property in counties so close to the deadline for opposing the assessment that the counties did not have time to respond. The legislature is requiring a 30 day notice to the county before the assessment decision is made for centrally assessed properties by the State Tax Commission.
Rep. McIff also discussed SR-10 and commented on the ruts in the road. He said he felt like he could put his car on auto pilot, drive in the ruts and relax."
Rep. McIff wants to continue to responsibly represent the people of Utah.
David Hansen representative for Senator Orrin Hatch thanked everyone for the support in the last election. He reminded the crowd that now was the time to start planning for the 2008 election.
Tim Sheehan representing Senator Bennett said, "The Senator will still be able to accomplish many things as the ranking minority member on the Appropriations Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Banking Committee. He is concerned about how to manage the growth in Washington County. He continues to work to find solutions for Social Security."
Emery County Commissioner Drew Sitterued updated the crowd on the progress of the proposed swimming pool. He said the architect has completed the newest drawings and those drawings can be seen in nearly every office the county building.
Emery County Republican Party Chairman Bill Dellos felt this was a very successful Lincoln Day Breakfast.