Sunday, May 08, 2011

Utah: The Road Construction State.

In November of 2007 the citizens voted to repeal our Legislature’s school voucher pet entitlement, and we’ve been paying the price ever since.

First They* passed laws making it harder and harder for citizen initiatives to get on the ballot.  The number of signatures required was increased.  A requirement that same percent of registered voters signing the petition be achieved in each county was added in a later legislative session.  This may seem fair, until you take into account the demographics in this state.  According to the 2010 Census, 75.4% of the population lives in the four counties along the Wasatch Front, over a third in Salt Lake County itself.  That means that a predominantly rural county with less than 3,000  people can derail a vote on something that concerns an urban county of 1,029,655 people.

Then they stopped funding the increase in students in the public schools.  10,000+ new students every year, no new money. A few legislators were even quoted in the news as having said they will “starve the beast”, in reference to Public Education. And despite claiming they funded the new students this year (first time in three years) my district alone has to cut $5.7 million out of it’s budget.

Then they passed a bill earmarking 30% of all new sales tax revenue, an estimated $60 million a year, to road construction, although the Governor vetoed this bill.

On Friday they showed where their priorities lie.  In a special legislative session both houses voted to override the Governor’s veto.  The statements made by this override are twofold.  First they are spanking the Governor for having the audacity to override one of their pet projects.  At the same time they are putting forth road construction as their #1 priority.

All this, from the queen of all “Family Values” states.  Yeah, riiiight!

*Our illustrious, uncorrupted, philanthropic bastions of democracy employed as State Representatives and Senators.

2 comments:

The English Teacher said...

If the lawmakers in this state actually valued kids and education, the stupid law that gives tax money to people for having more kids, thus making people without kids pay to educate the kids of others, would be gone forever. And with the increase in funds, class sizes would be reduced and buildings would be enlarged to accommodate more smaller classes. Then student achievement would go up, teacher retention would go up, graduation rates would go up, population would go down (because it would be more expensive to have ridiculously large families), and we would eventually have a smaller but better educated work force. Good!
Unfortunately, this will never happen.

Max said...

Exactamundo. That's why we need to change it from "The Beehive State" to the "The Road Construction State" and our motto from "Industry" to "Roads Uber Alles".