Please differentiate yourself from your opponent.
I am a citizen, not a politician, campaigning to be your representative in the Citizens House. I m running because I want less government, less taxes, and more communication between elected officials and ourselves. I have signed a no tax increase pledge, my opponents said they might vote to raise taxes. I m opposed to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and all other inducements which encourage breaking our immigration laws. My opponents disagree. I support choice in education and would encourage private and religious schools and home schooling. Education is too important to be left solely to government. I m for health care reform by minimizing government intrusion, tax-exempt medical expenses, and eliminate lawsuit abuse. With three master s degrees, I have at least spent more on formal education than my opponents. Unlike my opponents, I have never been a lobbyist or received large contributions from special interests. I m putting my own money on the line, not making up lines regarding large donations. My Web site is http://www.voteshumway.org. I want to once again make us the masters and government the servant. Please vote for the person who will best represent you, not a self-indulgent party. Vote Gary Shumway for State Representative.
1. The Legislature has considered loosening its development rules, most notably in a bill that stalled in the 2006 session. Please describe the fairness of the state’s rules regulating developers. Please describe one change to the rules you support and, if there are none, discuss why the rules, in your opinion, are adequate.
I assume you are asking about SB 170, Local Government Land Use and Impact Fee Revisions, sponsored by Alma Mansell, R-Sandy. SB 170 was a bill championed by the Utah Property Rights Coalition. The Utah Association of Counties stated it would have eliminated planning and zoning in Utah. Environmental organizations and Utah League of Cities and Towns also opposed the bill. Mansell reportedly said that SB 170 was a report card prepared by developers and citizens unhappy with city planning. Mansell, who is a realtor, eventually abandoned the bill. I believe there is room for improvement in the state’s rules regulating developers and property owners. Toward a more open government, I would support provisions that provide to each applicant copies of staff reports and written internal communication regarding the applicant or the pending application at least three business days before the public hearing or public meeting.
2. Utah’s tourism industry is critical to the economy of Summit County, employing scores of people and generating lots of the area’s taxes. Please outline your opinion of the Statehouse’s role in promoting tourism. Please discuss one new program you would support that would boost tourism in Summit County.
Some 43 percent of Summit County and 10 percent statewide of non-farm employment is in tourism. Travelers generate $433 million in state and local tax revenues. Currently, the Statehouse s role in promoting tourism is to provide funds based on tax revenue from businesses that serve travelers (based on NAICS) and oversight of the Utah Office of Tourism (UOT). It appears that the 2005 creation of the Tourism Marketing Performance Account (TMPA) is an effort to pay for tourism promotion with a portion of the funds received from tourism. It is estimated that the anticipated increased tourism revenue will reduce our tax burden by $105 per housing unit. TMPA is a step in the right direction. I would like to see the continued movement toward those entities who benefit from tourism paying for its marketing and the increased services use thus engendered. One program could be online dissemination of event videos.
3. Even after changes to the state’s liquor laws, people in the entertainment industry remain unhappy with what they see as a restrictive and confusing set of rules. Are the liquor laws adequate and do they accomplish their goals? Please discuss one change that you would support.
A five-member Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission administers Utah liquor laws. The stated purpose of the commission is, to make liquor available to those adults who choose to drink responsibly — but not to promote the sale of liquor. But then there s the $40 million dollars in liquor profits to consider.
There are currently eight different permits and licenses. I suggest simplifying by consolidating the two restaurant licenses and the on-premise banquet and catering license with the private club license. This would also decrease the personnel necessary for monitoring. Further, owners of establishments should be informed regarding the status of their license application in a timely fashion. Some applicants have to complete the building of their establishment before knowing if a license will be approved. Additionally, the recommended processes for license application, data gathering and appearing before the Commission should be made clearer.
4. The Statehouse continues to have difficulty shedding an image of shortchanging Utah students. Is that a fair assessment of the amount of money that is budgeted for education? Please discuss one idea to ensure that the state’s schools are funded adequately.
Utah state income taxes are the primary means of funding education. In 2007, the state is budgeted to spend $4.075 billion or 41.6 percent of all expenditures (a $211 million increase) on public and higher education. The Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) was increased by six percent or $121 million to $2,417. This increase is to be used in funding increases in teacher salaries and benefits and operating costs.
Utah is 50th in the nation in expenditures for K-12 students. Yet Utah students score above the national average in both the ACT and SAT (college-bound exams). Our students ACT scores even increased slightly from 2000 to 2006. This fact belies the assertion that we are not offering our college bound students an adequate education.
Can Utah improve? Certainly! I support increases in teacher salaries, adequate funds for materials, smaller classes, split overly large districts, educational choice and home schooling, and vocational training.
5. Lots of Summit County s traffic problems are either on or near state-owned roads, notably S.R. 224 and S.R. 248, even after both have been upgraded. Do the state roads in the county function to your liking?
Having visited all the towns in District 53, the state roads appear to be in good-to-average repair or undergoing improvement. In Summit County, the roads are generally in good repair (now even Uinta Way).
Interestingly, though the rest of Summit County is in District 53, much of S.R. 224 and the Snyderville Basin are in District 25. That aside, the Annual Transportation Report for Summit County states that the priority intersections are the Jeremy Ranch interchange, the U.S. 40 Quinn s (S.R. 248) Junction to Silver Summit area, and all S.R. 224 intersections. A Corridor Preservation Agreement between UDOT and Summit County has been established.
To improve traffic flow, maybe encourage use of Kilby Road for the Tanger Outlet area and build a road from the upper Outlet area to Olympic way for Redstone access. If feasible, use a portion of the I-80 eastbound onramp to connect with Ute Boulevard.
6. School districts continue to accept students who do not speak English as their native language, mostly Spanish. Please rate the state’s efforts to integrate the non-English speakers and describe one initiative you support addressing those who do not speak English.
Utah has legislative provisions for limited English proficient (LEP) student instruction via Utah Code 53A-17a-131.4, which addresses an alternative language program," designed to "meet the limited English proficient and second language acquisition needs of Utah’s language minority student population." Alternative language services for Utah students (ESL and bilingual programs) along with annual measurable achievement objectives are described in Utah s Administrative Code R277-716.
After many years of experimentation and billions of dollars spent, bilingual education fails to do an acceptable job of teaching English. Students stay in bilingual programs for four-to-eight years with many dropping out without adequately learning English. Two programs that do work are English Immersion (EI) and English as a Second Language (ESL). In EI, students spend one school year intensively learning English then perfect their English skills in English-language classrooms. With ESL, students attend English-language classes in core subjects and special classes in their native language.
7. Utah allows some undocumented immigrants to hold what are known as driving-privilege cards, which allow them to drive but are not recognized as official identification. Do you support keeping the driving-privilege cards intact or doing away with them?
The driving privilege card (DPC) became law March 8, 2005. DPCs are supposedly for those who meet all the requirements for a regular driver license, but have no Social Security number, i.e., primarily illegal immigrants. Some say the DPC is useful for allied troops training at Hill AFB, students and Olympic athletes. Some 14,400 of these cards were issued during the first seven months of the program. That s a lot of allied troops and athletes.
The DPC is not supposed to be an identification card but Zions Bank is honoring it as such.
I suppose the DPC is better than giving out some 94,000 drivers licenses and identification cards to undocumented individuals. But why give a privilege (driving) to those breaking the law and are we getting those 94,000 licenses back?
8. Please discuss your opinion of Utah’s tax structure. Should taxes go up, be cut or stay as they are now? Please address in your answer your opinion of the so-called primary home exemption, which makes property taxes more expensive for people who own houses but do not live in the state all year.
The primary state taxes are income, sales and property. Generally income taxes pay for education expenditures, sales taxes go to the general fund, and county and local governments use property taxes. I believe we are paying too much in taxes. The Utah state budget has gone from $4 billion to $8 billion (doubled!) in 10 years. We need fewer taxes and smaller, more efficient government.
The primary home exemption is a boon for county and local governments as the owners of secondary homes are paying almost double the property taxes but are obviously using less services since they are part-time residents (though some of these homes may be leased or rented.) I support land value taxation (value of land without improvements) vs. property taxation.
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.