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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) State Auditor-elect John Dougall says he will retain most of the employees in the office, although it is one of the few agencies where he has the power to hire and fire all staffers at will. In this file photo, the state Republican lawmaker from Highland, speaks on the House floor.
Editorials stand their post: Watching the Legislature ...

- School funding: Dougall plan misguided - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

There is just too much about the possible consequences of HB123 that we don’t know, and can’t know unless it’s given thorough study. The bill would completely reshape how Utah high schools are funded by giving juniors and seniors the money that otherwise would go to the high schools they attend. ...

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... The fiscal note attached to a substitute HB123 indicates the state education fund would lose $1.5 million on a pilot program involving just 500 students. What the eventual cost to schools might be if the bill were ever applied to all students in Utah high schools, as sponsor Rep. John Dougall first proposed, is staggering. ...

- Without a clue: Lawmakers hide behind stunts - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The irrational hostility some members of the Utah Legislature feel toward the government of the United States took yet another insane step Monday. With House passage of HB511, our rebels without a clue are moving to give cities and counties the power to seize land belonging to the federal government.

The Legislature’s own staff attorneys, along with common sense, logic and even a cursory reading of the U.S. Constitution — especially the Supremacy Clause ... — recommend against such a pointless stab at Washington. ...

... Of course, it’s not going to happen. And, as long as it doesn’t happen, Utah politicians can continue to blame many of their own failures, particularly their inability to structure a tax code that adequately supports public and higher education, on the fact that such a large portion of the state’s lands pay no taxes.

It is all reminiscent of the way the Castro brothers managed to maintain their unchallenged rule of Cuba for 60 years — by shifting the blame from their own failures to the ongoing U.S. trade embargo. ...

- UHP markers a good solution - Ogden Standard Examiner Editorial

We believe that crosses along Utah's public highways that honored UHP Troopers who have died are not a violation of the Constitution. Nevertheless, the U.S. Court of Appeals has said otherwise, and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review that decision. The courts should be respected and the crosses have been appropriately removed.

We support House Bill 182, which would place nine-foot-high signs along the public highways to honor the Troopers. ...

- Legislators idling on empty - Ogden Standard Examiner Editorial

Why is the Utah Legislature poking its collective nose into Salt Lake City's affairs? The Utah House passed a bill, House Bill 104, which seeks to supersede a city law that makes it an offense to leave a vehicle idling for more than two minutes. ...

- In Salem, nobody gets to fold - Oregonian Editorial

... the divide over priorities should close today, freeing lawmakers to complete business no later than Friday, even though they technically have through Tuesday to finish up. The stakes are too high for all Oregonians to do anything less. Real governance is about compromise in which nobody has to completely fold. ...

- Too few cuts, too many tricks in the Senate Democrats' budget - Seattle Times Editorial

THE supplemental state budget proposed by Senate Democrats in Olympia does not cut public schools or colleges, which are crucial to the state's future. That is the good part, for which we credit Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, chairman of Senate Ways and Means. The bad part is that the budget fills most of the projected deficit with accountants' tricks — a budding addiction the Legislature should kick. ...

- Livestock 'fraud' bill is disappointing - Des Moines Register

How can it be a crime to tell the truth about farms?

- Fiscal impact bill more about politics than finance - Fort Collins Coloradoan Editorial

... Far too often, laws are passed based on theory rather than practicality. Operating within a vacuum isn't good business, and it isn't good government.

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