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2019-01-22 15:42:34
Time For Civility TO The Utah Legislature..Again
In Tooele County, it's time for my annual reminder; 'time for civility to the Utah Legislature .. again'. The reason I think it is important is because those 107 or so part timers can and do pass laws and make rules regarding real property that can impact all of us. I will be up there on the hill almost every day making sure that everything possible is done to protect your property rights and my industry. 

But, back to this blog; This year let's do things a little different. I'm going to re post last years blog post and just up-date the changes in the legislature and outline some issues we are preparing to argue.

Which are:

  • Sessions start January 28th Will last 45 days
  • Still only part time representatives
  • Per Diem amount is $283.00 per day.
What To Expect This Year

This year, our focus will be on 2 items, both of which will impact the public, as well as our own members.

The first is tax overhaul. As we've moved from a 'manufacturing' economy to a service one, State revenue has become harder to come by.

State Govt runs on sales tax, and between online sales and our service economy, revenue is weak.

Example: 20 yrs ago everyone in the neighborhood bought a lawn mower, which they paid sales tax on. Now, one guy buys the mower, whole neighborhood has him do their lawn, little tax generated.

Legislature will attempt to broaden the tax buy placing a tax on services, including Real Estate. We need to be careful about this, it could be a VERY slippery slope.

If you tax everyone in the home business that carries a state license, from the excavator to the title  officer at closing, pricing goes out the window, bringing a third of our economy to a screeching halt.

Which brings me to our next crucial issue.

With Utah getting ready to double in population over the next 30 yrs, we are already 55k units behind where we need to be in new construction housing units.

Because of that scarcity, prices are skyrocketing. We will be working to get govt costs on building down, while incentivizing builders to be more efficient. In addition, density MUST be part of the equation. If the locals don't get on board, the State will get them on board and the Cities won't like it...

Last Years Post About Utah Legislature

From a political standpoint, here in Utah, this is the Superbowl, the Indy 500 and the premier of the next Twilight movie all rolled into one. For the next 45 days, the Utah Legislature is in session. 'Oh no!', you might be tempted to say, or some version of 'what will they do to me this year'? Well, let me try to tell you.

We do things a bit differently in Utah, which won't be news to anyone. We don't have a full-time, professional legislature. We have part-timers. What we have is a 45 day session, 45 days to do all of the law-making business of the State. Passing a budget. Not just passing it, but balancing it! They have to, it's in the Constitution. So, what does it mean?

Simply put, you have 104 part-timers determining the direction of the State for the next year. Yes, part timers, with very much part-time pay, but seriously full time hours. These folks come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. You have Realtors and teachers. Farmers, ranchers and Attorneys. Homemakers, nurses, appraisers, bankers, dentists and small business owners.

What The Legislature Will Do

What these folks will do over the next month and a half is amazing to me. They will put in long days, often 18+ hours. They will give up time with their families. They will travel extensively, or live out of a suitcase. They will read and study 1200+ different Bills. They will attend endless meetings, learning about subjects that most of us don't have a clue about. They will eat badly & worse.

They will read and answer thousands of emails, return countless phone calls, talk to constituents, most of which will be telling them what a lousy job they are doing, or worse, what lousy people they are. For the next 45 days, the world will attempt to convince them that they are wholly evil. So, what do they get out of this?

Well, they certainly aren't getting rich. Last I checked, they were pulling down a whopping $117 per day, plus a per diem for the 45 day session. For most, that equates to a net LOSS in their income. I know 1 Representative that uses his vacation, personal and sick pay from his 'real' job to serve, and working nights and weekends during the session, just to keep up. Some vacation.

So, why do they do it? If it isn't to get rich, isn't for a positive public image and some praise, what is it? I'd guess that if you asked them, you'd get 104 different answers.

But, I bet that most of them would come back to some variation on the word 'service'. Service can be like a drug, and it can be brutal to get rid of, to the point that you'll suffer greatly and keep doing it. We should be grateful that some people can't help doing it.

Look, I'm not sitting here talking up these people because I think they're perfect, far from it. Ask any of them and they'll admit they make mistakes, it's impossible not to.

I have no doubt that many of them will make decisions that I think are wrong, and I'll let them know. However, I also believe that the overwhelming majority of our State legislators with whom I disagree, will be making decisions based on what they believe to be right.

Don't Forget Utah Legislature Are Our Neighbors

Finally, let's remember that what's good for one person or group may not be good for another. That doesn't make them evil, or even that bad. It just makes them people, just like you and I. People that have stepped up and attempted to do a thankless job, but a job that must be done.

Say what you will, but this system seems to work. In 2018 The State of Utah ranked anywhere from #1 to # 8 in fiscal responsibility nationally. Vehicles like USA Today, Forbes Magazine, U.S. New, Etc: spoke glowingly of Utah governance, and our 'part time citizen legislators'.

Perhaps you'd like a 'professional', full time legislature? Not me, thanks.

The only Chicago-style things I like have to do with pizza! So, when you're tempted to judge these people, perhaps you need to take a breath, and realize they really are trying their best, doing a job that few are willing to.

Perhaps, you need to take a long look at jumping into the next race yourself? In the meantime, let's think about showing a bit of civility at the legislature!

If you have some thoughts or ideas that I could carry to the hill , email me @ chrisgroup1@msn.com. In the meantime please remember, 'it's time for civility to the Utah legislature..again.

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