Letters: Utah lawmakers are happy to support taxpayer-funded welfare — but only when it suits them
As a Utah taxpayer, I recently had a very disheartening email exchange with one of our Utah state senators, Mr. Curt Bramble. I contacted Mr. Bramble as he is in the forefront of initiating (mostly unconstitutional) legislation dealing with the issue of right to life and abortion. I asked Mr. Bramble if he and his colleagues were in full support of S.B. 74 and H.B. 254, which provide for the re-establishment of federal funding for non-abortion-related family planning services and access to contraception products for our financially less fortunate citizens. It is eminently logical for people embracing a strong right to life opinion to be completely supportive of any legislation that would go to dramatically reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies so that the whole right to life vs. right to choose issue would be rendered moot. Mr. Bramble’s response was that he would not support taxpayer-funded welfare.
I found this to be a completely irresponsible and contradictory position. One only has to look as far as the Utah state budget for the DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services). Utah taxpayers fund this agency at $173 million per year, $45 million of which goes to foster care services. I would love to hear Mr. Bramble’s explanation of how this is not taxpayer-funded welfare. More to the point, If one does simple math, $45 million over the course of supporting children from (unwanted) birth to the age of 18 totals up to a whopping $810 million, and if one adjusts for inflation, taxpayer-funded welfare (which Mr. Bramble says he cannot support) for foster care services over that 18-year period is over $1 billion.
Mr. Bramble and his colleagues take a “don’t confuse me with the facts” on this issue view to the exclusion of any reason and have no issue with wasting $1 billion of Utah taxpayer dollars over the next 20 years to support their view. As a Utah taxpayer I find it difficult to understand why Utah voters would continue to elect representatives who so cavalierly waste our taxpayer money for a position that does not make any sense. Diverting, say, $10 million per year for education of our young people on family planning and providing them with access to contraception has the potential to save Utah taxpayers between $500 million and $750 million of taxpayer-funded welfare over the next 18-20 years. Conservation of Utah taxpayer dollars seems to be very low on some of our legislators’ agendas, however. The next time you vote for Utah legislative representatives, perhaps you should consider voting for individuals who actually are fiscally conservative and will not waste $1 billion of your hard-earned money.
Ditch the divisive views
I have been subscribing to The Park Record newspaper for the last 48 years. In the last number of months I have been seeing extreme political views and commentary at times dominating the front page or the editorial page of the Record. Their often long narratives dressing down our elected political figures or other divisive or extreme political views. These long articles promoting hate and division and name calling don’t belong in a small community-based paper, and I think the Record staff should take a closer look at commentary before placing it in our community paper. And yes I’m addressing a recent letter by a Peter Yogman as an example of what I’m talking about. While I believe in free speech I think there are other mediums to express these views.
A civic celebration
Voterise wants to thank the 156 Park City High School students who registered to vote last Friday, the 1st annual Utah Women’s Voter Registration Day. Their commitment to civic engagement will be beneficial to our local community, our state and nation.
We particularly want to recognize the outstanding contribution of two seniors, Darian Carter and Kristina Schiffman, who organized and implemented the activities. Also, very special thanks to all the Park City High School teachers and administrators without whose support and cooperation this would not have been possible.
Park City is a great town and its concerned citizens of all ages make it even better.
Elsa and Dick Gary
Affordable housing tax a poor idea
Park City is a very generous, caring community. Just witness the number of fundraising events throughout the year that support a variety of noble and worthy causes. But an affordable housing tax? Really, is that a reasonable function of government (and our taxes)? There are many people who work in Park City but live in outlying communities because the cost of housing in Park City itself is sky high. Should we subsidize everyone who cannot afford to live within the confines of our fair city? Perhaps we should explore free outside-the-city parking and free, frequent bus service into the resort areas and other working locales. Or perhaps the supporters of the affordable housing tax idea should organize another fundraiser to buy hotels at the bottom of Main Street and PCMR and dedicate them to affordable housing. Not every “worthy idea” is worthy of another tax.
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The debate over the proposed development near the Highland Estates neighborhood is not about affordable housing, writes Katie Johnson. Rather, it’s about zoning, and whether developers are allowed to re-zone any land they want.