In a couple of weeks, the Utah State Legislature will be in session again. Legislators are gearing up to end the constitutional earmark for public education. Currently, the state constitution requires that income tax revenue be spent on public education. At one time, that meant income tax revenue had to be spent on K-12. But in 1996, a constitutional amendment was passed that included higher education in that apportionment. Of course, that meant the legislature could spend less of the income tax money on K-12 and not have to spend other money outside the income tax on higher ed. That money could go for other things the legislature wanted to spend money on.
Now, the legislature wants to hurt public education again by giving themselves the power to decide how much of the income tax revenue goes to education. Under their plan, they would not be bound to spend income tax revenue on public education. Instead, they could devote that revenue to transportation, state parks, capitol renovations, or anything they wanted to.
If our legislators had a reputation of treating public education well, granting them this flexibility might be a good idea. But they don't. They are strong rhetorical supporters of public education. But year after year they give K-12 education only enough to cope with increasing enrollment or, when economic times are very good, they give K-12 slight increases that do little to rectify the situation of inadequate funding.
Again, if Utah was top in the nation in its financial commitment to public education, that would be different. But we are at the bottom. Not only do we spend less per capita (by far) than any other state, we also have decreased the percentage of our taxes that we devote to public education. And that is all due to our legislators—the same ones who want to be able to be free to decide where the income tax revenue goes.
The United Utah Party opposes decreasing support for public education. We need to find ways to increase our support. This plan by the legislature will do the opposite. It will allow legislators—lukewarm supporters of public education—to divert money for public education to other things. We cannot afford to let that happen.
Contact your legislator and tell him or her that you don't want the earmark taken off public education.
But, at the same time, find a qualified candidate to run for the state legislature as a UUP candidate in your legislative district and support him or her so we can elect legislators who we don't have to lobby to support public education. They will do it naturally.
Save the Date
We've got some important events coming up in a few months, so make sure to mark these dates on your calendars!
|January 18, 2020||Moving UUP Summit and FriendRaiser|
|March 24, 2020||Party Caucuses|
|April 18, 2020||UUP State Convention|
We'll look forward to seeing you there!
Moving UUP Summit and FriendRaiser
Together, let’s work for a better Utah!
Together, let’s challenge the status quo!
Together, let’s change Utah’s political system!
Come to our Moving UUP Summit and FriendRaiser this Saturday, January 18, in Lehi from 9:30am to 11:30am. The Summit will be held at the StayBridge Hotel, located at 3380 North Triumph Blvd in Lehi, UT.
A yummy full breakfast is included in the $15 per person ticket, or if coming with a full belly pay just $5 to join in on on the stimulating conversation! We hope to see you there. Don't forget to register a friend or two to come with you.
Please Note: If you recently tried to register for the Moving UUP Summit and FriendRaiser but experienced a technical glitch, we are so very sorry. Good News! All is well now with the site, and we encourage you to register today so we can get an accurate headcount.
Curious About What It Takes to Run for Office?
Want to make a difference? Want to spread the message that we can break through the partisan gridlock that is gripping our state and nation? Want to help the United Utah Party become a force in Utah politics. Ever thought about running for office?
The United Utah Party needs individuals to run across the state who are community-minded, practical, knowledgeable on many issues (and willing to learn about others), and able to take some time in 2020 to campaign. Previous electoral experience is not necessary.
The United Utah Party will host a webinar designed to explain what is involved in running for office. The webinar is for those who are curious what would be involved. It will be this Thursday, January 16, at 7 pm. If you are interested in participating, please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be sent the log-in information.
Op Ed: Trump’s Policies are Neither Moral Nor Conservative
by United Utah Party member Jim Bennett; originally published in the Salt Lake Tribune, January 10, 2020
Christianity Today’s bold and brilliant editorial calling for the removal of Donald Trump prompted a response from Dennis Prager, a conservative pundit who frames political issues through a moral perspective that is often missing from the public conversation.
In his response, Prager insists that the policies Trump has advanced have a far greater moral impact than his lack of personal integrity, and that those policies are worth, “Mr. Trump’s occasional crude language and intemperate tweets.”
What Prager never mentions, however, is that Trump was not impeached for crude language and intemperate tweets. He was impeached for using nearly half a billion dollars of taxpayer money as leverage to get a foreign government to dig up dirt on a political opponent. If President Obama had withheld similar financial aid from a foreign government until they agreed to investigate Mitt Romney, would Dennis Prager fail to take notice?
Yet none of this troubles a majority of my fellow Latter-day Saints, as they argue that Trump’s supposed policy triumphs outweigh even these egregious violations of legal and ethical norms. But Trump’s policies are neither moral nor conservative.
Republicans seem unconcerned that Trump is the most profligate spender we’ve ever had in the Oval Office. He is running higher deficits and adding more to the national debt than any president in history. His trade policies show a contempt for free markets that would have Ronald Reagan rolling over in his grave. And his immigration policies bear no resemblance to those of any prior Republican president, and they should be especially repugnant to Latter-day Saints.
Consider that the state of Utah was settled by Latter-day Saint refugees who were driven from their homes because of what they believed. So how can Latter-day Saints now stand idly by as this president turns his back on those facing similar circumstances in the 21st Century?
The answer, it seems, is that it all boils down to the single issue of abortion.
It seems there is no limit to the sins that the pro-life movement is willing to overlook in exchange for a judiciary that might finally overturn Roe v. Wade. What they fail to recognize is that overturning Roe and all subsequent precedents would likely be devastating to the pro-life movement.
Abortion rates have been plummeting for years, but that free-fall would likely stop if Roe were overturned and abortion advocates were newly galvanized into action. After all, overturning Roe v. Wade wouldn’t make abortion illegal; it would return the issue to the states, many of which have already codified protections for abortion far beyond what is provided for in Roe.
Yes, some states would make abortion illegal, and, as we learned from the boycotts in the wake of North Carolina’s disastrous “Bathroom Bill,” they would quickly become economic pariahs from the nation at large. The cultural fissures between red and blue states would deepen into chasms, and it would all be for nothing. Abortion rates would likely remain unchanged, as those seeking abortion would merely have to cross state lines in order to get one.
Latter-day Saints are also in a unique position here, as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches that abortion can be morally justified in cases of rape and incest or when the life or health of the mother is threatened by the pregnancy. But Trump is listening to the extremists currently driving the abortion debate who are clamoring for laws that would not allow for these exceptions. Is that the moral stance Latter-day Saints ought to be taking?
It is undeniable that immoral men have served as presidents of the United States. What is unique about our current circumstance is that Trump isn’t simply an immoral man. He is presiding over an immoral administration. His public actions are largely at odds with the Christian principles that ought to animate the faith of believers of every stripe. That is why the Senate should do their constitutional duty and remove Donald Trump from office.
With all due respect to Dennis Prager, Christianity Today had it right. It’s time that Latter-day Saints took notice.
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The United Utah Party is dedicated to providing and supporting moderate alternatives to the political extremes.