Rep. Logan Wilde readies for Utah’s Legislative Session
District 53 Republican Rep. Logan Wilde says he is gearing up to take on a more active role in the Utah Legislature for the 2018 session.
Last year, Wilde was a freshman lawmaker who was “just trying to get his feet wet” in state politics. He said he spent most of the 2017 session working to understand the legislative process and what happens behind the scenes.
With more experience under his belt, Wilde said he is spending most of his time before the upcoming session learning about measures that are being proposed. He expressed particular concern with one of the initiatives that will be considered.
One of the bills on Wilde’s radar is a measure that would equalize property tax revenues across the state to supplement school districts with low property tax yields. Sen. Lincoln Filmore, a Republican from Salt Lake County who is sponsoring the bill, tried to pass a similar measure last year.
Wilde said the measure could punish larger and more wealthy school districts, such as the Park City School District.
“It looks like an affront to Summit County and counties along the Wasatch Back,” he said. “It’s like they are saying, ‘Park City is large so let’s equalize it.’”
Wilde is sponsoring two bills during the upcoming session, including a measure that would remove regulations for moderate-income housing for counties and cities.
The state requires cities and counties to produce a report every two years on how the entities are mitigating costs for moderate-income housing, which includes homes ranging between $80,000 and $200,000. Wilde said the costs are mostly determined by the market, adding “there is not a lot the county or city can do to affect those costs.”
“What I’m saying is just put it in the General Plan how you will attempt to regulate those numbers,” he said. “They don’t need to submit that to the state of Utah. They understand they have to review those numbers, we are not really looking for more reports coming to the state that are just boiler plate reports.”
Another bill he is sponsoring deals with the Utah Farmland Assessment Act, also referred to as the Greenbelt Act. The act allows qualifying agricultural property to be taxed based upon its productive capability instead of the market value.
Wilde’s suggested bill would allow a county assessor to request certain reports when a property owner is applying for a variance to verify whether it is a legitimate request or an attempt to circumvent the law.
“We want to be able to allow the assessor to look at as many documents as is needed to determine whether the request meets the requirements or not,” he said.
Both bills have been requested, but are not numbered. Wilde did not indicate whether he plans on sponsoring any other bills this session.
Last year, Wilde sponsored three bills. They all passed and were signed by Gov. Gary Herbert. The bills gave counties more control over how funds generated from vehicle emission fees can be used, modified provisions for the way that the transfer or assignment of water rights are recorded with the state engineer, and clarified the authority of the state engineer to charge a fee for an application for non-use of water.
For the upcoming session, Wilde is assigned to the following committees and subcommittees: Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee; House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee; and House Political Subdivisions Committee. He said he is eager to discuss redistricting and the medical use of marijuana.
Wilde said he has created non-scientific online surveys to better understand how his constituents feel about issues.
“I’ve been amazed at some of the responses that are coming back,” he said. “I’m going to do one for each of the five initiatives that will get on the ballot so I can try and get as much input back as I can from those in my district.”
Wilde touts himself as someone who supports fiscally conservative practices to keep taxes lower. He said he recognizes the need to provide services, but not at the cost of raising taxes.
“I want to try to make it so that local governments can operate in a cost-effective way,” he said. “Are we making regulations that burden our local governments, and are we costing taxpayers more money at a local level? I think we spend too much staff time trying to get the boiler plate information out and it’s not doing any good.”
Wilde’s district includes large swaths of Daggett, Rich, Morgan, Duchesne and Summit counties. In Summit County, District 53 includes: Park West, Kimball Junction, parts of Pinebrook, Promontory, Snyders Mill, Moose Hollow, Silver Springs, Jeremy Ranch, and North and South Summit
For more information about the bills Wilde is sponsoring, go to https://house.utah.gov/rep/WILDEL.
A former Summit County victim advocate who was facing a felony count of misusing public money pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge in a deal with prosecutors.