Midday Commentary on the Weekend News — June 15, 2015

Utah House Democrats have a presser about the Rep. Miller/Mayor McAdams My Ethics are Bigger than Your WayneEthics throwdown, and it’s a big one. Minority Leader Brian King and his entire caucus is asking Miller to resign. Even if Miller declines, which it looks like will be the case at least in the short term, when your own colleagues are calling for you to leave it makes it extremely difficult to be effective.

Miller represents more than 35,000 Utahns who deserve the best representative possible. He needs to ask himself is that is the case given the situation and proceed accordingly.

• So after the $600+ million surplus in Utah this year, and the tax increase passed by the Legislature for education, next up is the transportation tax increase. Cities are providing cover for counties to increase the tax by sending them resolutions. (Trib)

But at least 55 Utah cities and towns have passed or are considering resolutions calling for the tax hike to be put on ballots this year, saying the need is urgent.

Tax increases are usually short term fixes for long term problems, and this is no different. The way we get around in this country is changing dramatically, and the traditional form of paying for it — gas taxes — are as out of date as an episode of Buck Rogers.

• Speaking of taxes, it’s gotta be awesome to support both sides of an issue and never get called on it. On Sunday, LaVarr Webb took aim at the medical device tax that is funding in part the ACA and Medicaid Expansion efforts like Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah proposal. He adamantly calls for its repeal, as it has adverse impacts on Utah businesses, which also makes sense for small government types. Of course, never mind that three months ago he wrote this:

I wish the House had passed Healthy Utah. Still, I sympathize with House Republicans who held firm to the truth that we shouldn’t be expanding entitlement programs. Rather, we should be contracting them.

This is an important philosophical conundrum. How do we reverse the welfare state? Well, my answer is we do it slowly and carefully. And we don’t do it unilaterally and forgo hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes Utahns are paying for health care services.

So if we’ve got this straight, Webb wants Healthy Utah, but also doesn’t want the taxes that pay for it. Awesome. (Dnews)

• Mayor Ralph Becker’s dismissal of Chief Burbank is going to be a thing for a while. He’s now writing emails to his city’s residents defending himself. The Trib opinion-type people aren’t letting up either. Bagley’s taking his shots. (Dnews/Trib)

• After a nail-biter of a loss to Mia Love in the last election, Democrat Doug Owens is considering a rematch. (Fox 13)

And if none of that interests you, Jurassic World somehow managed to make nearly half a billion dollars over the weekend. Not too shabby.


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