Midday Commentary on Last Night’s News — Oct. 5, 2015

Big week in Utah politics what with Medicaid expansion on the table and the Jason Chaffetz Speaker thing. On one hand, you’ve got a long-shot choice that splits the mainstream left and right, funded by corporations, looks great on paper, and refuses to go away no matter how many times it looks like it might. On the other hand, you’ve got Medicaid expansion. Gold

• The AP runs a piece on Chaffetz bucking the establishment. You can say what you want about the guy, but he’s done a pretty masterful job of balancing old guard Republican support with the Tea Party folks. (Benghazi attack dog and Gov Ops watch dog.)

Which is why he’s in this race at all. And if there’s one thing you should never, ever, do, it’s underestimate Jason Chaffetz.

• Medicaid Expansion, on the other hand, is the little engine that never really could. The newest version, Utah Access Plus, will be heard by the Legislative Health Care Reform Task Force on Tuesday. The advocates will be at in force, as will likely by the providers who would be taxed.

But the real action will be Oct. 13, when the House GOP caucus gets together to do a head count to see if they can reach 38 “yea” votes. The easy money is on “No, they can’t”.

Throw in conference weekend in which everyone held their breath to see which Utah-born, business successful white guys would be chosen as LDS apostles and there’s not much room for anything else.

Which seems to be the story of Jonathon Johnson’s gubernatorial campaign. That’s too bad because he’s talking the conservative talk a lot in the GOP want to hear, namely:

He’s in favor of medical marijuana and wants to privatize alcohol sales.

He wants to reform GOED, which has granted massive post-performance tax breaks to lure out-of-state companies into Utah. Johnson argues that most Utah job creators are homegrown and that GOED should be focused there. Johnson’s Overstock.com has benefitted from similar tax breaks, but:

The problem, Johnson argues, is that the incentives are administered inconsistently, with some companies getting sweeter offers than others, and that they are given for up to 20 years, far too long to motivate a company to act. (Trib)

• Next up on the taxpayer gravy train, higher education. They’re asking for more money from the state because, you know, that’s what taxpayer-funded entities do, ask for more money. (KUER)

• Speaking of asking for taxpayer dollars, homeless advocates are asking for a $30 million bond to tackle the homeless problem in Salt Lake City. (KUER)

• And lest we forget our friends in Utah County, Provo has a RAP tax on the ballot.

This on top of the property and gas taxes courtesy of the Legislature, and quarter cent being asked for by counties, is there anyone not asking for money right now? Good thing we’re a totally red state.


And of none of that interests you, go see The Martian.


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