tonight. His priorities including keeping taxes from being raised, holding public education harmless from budget cuts, transportation, and legislative ethics reform.
For the first time in three years, we are expecting an increase in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. Housing is beginning to stabilize, the state’s labor market is resilient and our unemployment rate remains below the national average. I know this is of small consolation to those who are out of work, but we will continue to make sound policy decisions to move this state – and your families – back to solid economic ground and toward a more hopeful future.
First and foremost, we must protect public and higher education. Utah has long been committed to funding our public schools, our colleges and universities, and our technical institutions. In fact, few states in the country spend as much of their overall budgets on education as we do. Our unique demographics – which is a way of saying we have larger families – mean we must continue to increase funding to maintain and enhance the solid education and training our students receive.
In spite of our difficult budget situation, I call upon you, our great legislators, to maintain our current level of commitment to education! Secondly, we must balance our budget responsibly, and in a way that does not stifle an economy that is finally beginning to show signs of recovery. We need to support our hard-working citizens and businesses, not stifle them with new tax burdens. We need to help them succeed, not hamper their success. And we need to think toward the future, not just of today.
Read the entire text of Governor Herbert’s State of the State address here.
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Tagged budget, education, energy, ethics reform, governor, health care, higher education, legislators, property taxes, public education, small business, taxesOutlining Priorities: Guv’s State o, transportation, utah legislature
(Cross-posted at Utah Legislature Watch)
Authors at Utah Legislature Watch have posted numerous articles in the past about Utah Legislators Ethics. This year will be no exception . since even before the session begins, there is already continued talk about ethics reform.
Last week the Deseret News published an article about a bill that has come out of committee on ethics reform. the bill proposes the formation of an independent panel which would serve as a clearning house for complaints against legislators.
The proposal, allowing private citizens to initiate complaints, would bring in an independent voice to ethics enforcement on Utah’s Capitol Hill for the first time. Currently, only sitting lawmakers can bring allegations against their colleagues and the complaints are judged solely by other legislators meeting behind closed doors.
Utahns for Ethics in Government is not entirely satisfied wtih this bill, however. The group is currently working on a citizen’s initiative that would overhaul the ethics process. The article quotes member Kim Burningham,
“We still have some major concerns” regarding transparency and fairness, “We believe in a lot more openness.”
Other ethics adovcates are on board with the initiative such as Utahns for Ethical Government. There continues to be debate between these groups and legislators regarding the language and “loopholes” in the initiave. The few comments to the D-News article so far allude to legislators being nervous about handing things over to the citizens.
As well they should be. It’s time for the people to oversee the activities of their employees, the state legislators, to ensure transparency in Utah’s government.