Monday, January 31, 2005

Because Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

I"m not sure how I feel about a total smoking ban in bars and clubs. This article in City Weekly does a good job of laying out the debate in an interesting way. Though I am undecided, I do know there are a lot of angry smokers who are SERIOUSLY OVERESTIMATING the impact such a ban would have. Little has changed in the New York City or Los Angeles nightlife since their bans. Why are so many people (who otherwise consider themselves rational, even open minded people) predicting our ban to be the death of Salt Lake City's nightlife? It's clear there are many smokers in SLC who have an axe to grind beyond the anti- smoking laws.

Senator Mayne: Lean, Mean, Tax Cutting Machine

An interesting article in the Tribune today talks about Republicans raising Taxes in the Republican dominated Utah Legislature. While the article made good points, there was one thing that bothered me. Prominently displayed near the top of the article was this silly quote: "It's amazing how that worm has turned in such a conservative state," said Sen. Ed Mayne, D-West Valley City. "The Democrats are trying to cut taxes and make them more fair, and the Republicans are raising them." Further down the article, writer Rebecca Walsh references the Utah Taxpayer Associated when she includes the statement: "Republican lawmakers are more likely to argue for tax cuts than are Democrats." So what was Senator Mayne trying to do by insisting (against available evidence) that the Legislative Democrats are the tax cutters? Senator Mayne's statement was not reflective of policy goals or even reality, just an opportunity to trash Republicans. Senator Mayne understands full well that the all tax cuts and increases must always be handled by the Republicans because of their 3 to 1 advantage over the Democrats. I know Legislative Democrats are in a difficult situation, but Senator Mayne should try to speak a little more truthfully.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Let us pick up the check. It's no problem. Really, we'd love to.

The House Republican Caucus voted in mid-December to add $85 million in annual funds to the transportation budget. It reaffirmed the proposal last week, identifying highway construction as the top priority for new spending. Salt Lake Tribune- Jan. 29, 2005
Why is the top priority new highway construction and not desperately needed mass transit? This is why:
House Majority Leader Jeff Alexander, R-Provo, said House Republicans have good reasons why they want to put $85 million of ongoing, general fund tax revenue into roads and they weren't going to be easily turned around. The money wouldn't go to the state's Centennial Highway Fund, which was used to rebuild I-15 in Salt Lake County and still has hundreds of millions of dollars of work still to be completed. Instead, the new cash would go for road construction beyond those commitments. A number of the projects are in Utah County, which is seeing freeway gridlock at rush hour. Deseret News- Jan. 29, 2005
Now that Utah County has taken center stage at the legislature, they can demand the rest of the state pay for their chronic inability to plan for and manage growth.