8/20/14 – I have added a page addressing education to the site, which you can find here. To make a long story short, John Westwood opposed tax credits for parents who homeschool – I would have supported those credits. And we can more than pay for them by NOT giving $75 million in tax credits to some hotel magnate to build a downtown SLC hotel, a bill that John supported. I’ll stand up for the interests of Iron County taxpayers, not (probably out of state) welfare billionaires.
8/7/14 – In the closing days of the 2013 legislative session, the Attorney General’s office (then under the leadership of John Swallow) vigorously promoted House Bill 384, a revision to asset forfeiture laws. (Asset forfeiture is the process under which the state can seize your property if you are charged with a crime – but may not be required to return it if you are exonerated.) The legislators were told it changed nothing substantial, and so they voted to pass it – unanimously – without even reading it. For the record, those unanimous voters included my opponent, the incumbent, John Westwood. And then, also apparently without reading the bill, Governor Herbert signed it into law.
As it turned out, there were numerous substantive changes in the law that made it an out-and-out attack upon the very notion that any of us owns ANY personal property. If the government wants it, it could take it, and that’s just too bad for you!
In the 2014 legislative session, Senate Bill 256 restored the property rights that had been gutted by HB 384. At least the legislature recognized their mistake (though only after it was pointed out by the Libertas Institute in this analysis; otherwise, it would still be law.).
Had I been your representative, the vote to adopt HB 384 would not have been unanimous. Utah has an embarrassing history of bills introduced late in the legislative session that would never be passed if legislators were simply given the necessary time to understand their content. I would have opposed HB 384 if I was given the time to understand it – but I will also, on principle, oppose ANY bill that I am asked to vote on without being given the time to read and understand it. There’s only one possible reason to ask legislators to vote on a bill without reading it – somebody doesn’t WANT them to read it.
They used to call Ron Paul “Dr. No” in Congress because of how often he voted against bills. I’m not Dr. Paul – in fact, I’m not a doctor at all – but I do know how to say no, and I’m not afraid to do it. We need legislators who will take seriously their absolute responsibility to understand the legislation they vote on. I hope you’ll help me be one.
8/6/14- Here‘s an interview with Amanda Wardell, a woman in Salt Lake City who has been fined an outrageous $6,500 for being a driver for Lyft, the peer-to-peer ridesharing service. It’s worth your time.
This is yet another example of crony capitalism – remember that term, you’ll be hearing it a lot over the next couple of months – being used to limit consumer choice and keep politicians’ palms greased. Lyft (and the other similar service, Uber) are verifiably safer and cleaner than government licensed taxi services, and usually more efficient and less expensive. They’re less expensive because what’s cut out of these services is the bureaucratic oversight – oversight which, in the modern age of instant and instantly available consumer reviews, is simply outdated.
You’d think a cleaner, safer, less expensive consumer service would be desirable. That is, unless you’re a big government advocate who’s more interested in collecting fees and justifying unnecessary expenditures than in doing what’s right for entrepreneurs and consumers. Yes, let’s shut down Lyft so we can spend a few billion on more Trax. Ugh.
I will say it again – we need government that looks toward the future with delight at the thought of better and less expensive consumer services, not one that uses its force to try to keep us stuck where we are. Lyft and Uber are excellent examples of 21st century solutions that a fair, honest government would recognize for their contributions.
8/4/14 – Some of you may have seen this article in today’s Salt Lake Tribune in regard to the proposed utility tax which Rocky Mountain Power wants to impose on those with home solar generating systems which are connected to the power grid. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it as it offers a good, thorough explanation of the various issues.
As your representative, I will oppose the implementation of this tax.
Rocky Mountain Power’s contention is that, since systems are connected to the grid, the users should share in the maintenance of the grid. That sounds fair, until you take into account the excess power generated by these systems that RMP sells to other users, with no compensation to the owners of the systems. Sounds to me like RMP is already getting compensated by these homeowners quite well!
So there is one scenario in which I would support the assessment – if, and only if, RMP is also required to pay those who generate this excess power, at the same rate RMP would pay any other generating facility. That, of course, is not even on the table for discussion thus far.
RMP wants to dismiss this power as unneeded and unwanted, but that’s simply nonsense. As we all know, solar generating systems are most efficient on sunny, hot afternoons, which is also the time when demand for power reaches it highest, because homes and businesses are putting their air conditioning systems to the heaviest use. That peak usage determines the level of demand that defines the need for additional generating plants – the fact is that during normal demand, our existing generating plants are more than sufficient, but we do approach capacity under peak demand.
The simple truth is that the more homes and businesses voluntarily choose to install some solar generating power of their own, the less need we have for new generating plants. Every new generating plant costs hundreds of millions to build, and that’s a cost we all have to share. If people and businesses are willing to voluntarily spend money so that taxpayers don’t have to, do we really want to discourage them? I sure don’t!
Rocky Mountain Power wants to maintain its government-mandated monopoly. Politicians who take campaign money from Rocky Mountain Power will be under a lot of pressure to vote to impose this tax, but I won’t because I have not and will not accept any donations from government-regulated utilities or other corporations. (Talk about a conflict of interest!) Centralized utility monopolies are a relic of the 19th century – admittedly still with a lot of political clout – but it’s time we embrace the future and stop using the force of government regulation to sustain the past.
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8/1/14 – It’s the first of August, and that means it’s time to get things going! Campaigns are too long and we all get tired of them, but with just over 90 days to go it’s time to get the message out.
I’m pleased to be in a race where the choice between myself and the incumbent is so clear. My opponent and I could hardly be more different in our approach to policy – I as a Libertarian am (in the common uses of the words) fiscally conservative and socially liberal, a position which polls tell us over and over represents the way most Americans view themselves. We want a government that does the things that government is needed to do efficiently and inexpensively, and stays out of the things where there is no need for government to be involved. We want government that lets our businesses thrive, and does not pick winners and losers based on who donated to whose campaign. We want to be treated as adults, not children.
My opponent is exactly the opposite – a social conservative and a fiscal liberal. He thinks you need the government to tell you how to live your life – and when it comes to being responsible in choosing how our tax dollars are spent, the fact is that in his two-year term he’s not found any reason to oppose ANY spending bill at all. His vote for HB 356 to provide over $75 billion in tax breaks to some unnamed billionaire in exchange for building a hotel near the Salt Palace was hasty, poorly thought through, and an insult to all taxpayers in the state of Utah – but frankly, it is absolutely typical of his reckless approach to government spending.
There is no such thing as ‘government money’ – it is all, always, the people’s money. I pledge to you that I will never forget that.
And now, the brief commercial. I have yard signs available – if you’d like one, just let me know! I also have signs for the LP candidate for Attorney General, Andrew McCullough, if you would like one of them as well. If you are able to donate to my campaign I would greatly appreciate it – you can do so here – and the Libertarian Party of Utah has pledged to match all donations 100%, so whatever you can donate is doubled!
As the campaign continues I look forward to many opportunities to meet with you and your friends and neighbors. If you are able to host a neighborhood meeting in your home I am happy to be available. We’ll be scheduling some general public events too, and I love to talk about issues that face us all.
Please share this with your friends – this is an important election, and we have the chance to make a real impact on our lives here in Utah!
PS: Bookmark this page – it will be updated frequently!