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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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Today in punditry: Follow the money ...

Whether you are a reporter lurking about in parking garages in the middle of the night, or an editorial writer in your brightly lit ivory tower, Deep Throat’s advice rings true:

"Follow the money."

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Don’t let campaign cash drive tax assessments — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

" ... County officials say the state too often undervalues the big companies’ land, and there is research to back that up. So the counties have been appealing those state assessments, and that has the big companies fighting their tax battles once at the state level and again at the county level.

"So now those big companies are looking to state legislators to cut the counties out of the appeals process. That is the wrong solution, and legislators will have to show courage to choose good government over greased palms. ..."

Utility rules should consider air quality — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

" ... State regulators, and legislators, may find it difficult to place a precise value on efforts that cut down on air pollution. But utilities have absolutely no incentive to improve air quality until and unless government regulation makes it profitable for them to do so, or expensive for them not to. ..."

Keep battling Koch Industries and its allies to deliver clean, renewable energy — Kansas City Star Editorial

"Supporters of the polluting and powerful fossil-fuel industry have a message for Kansans and others eager to improve how Americans consume energy: We are going to do everything possible to derail, delay and demean clean, renewable power.

"It’s all part of a multibillion-dollar, self-interested scheme by groups including Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council to keep people tethered to old-fashioned energy sources. ..."

Lawmaker’s constitutional causes earn him money — Paul Rolly | The Salt Lake Tribune

"Before there was the American Lands Council there was Where’s the Line? And before that there was a $100,000 lawsuit against the city of West Jordan for First Amendment free speech violations.

"I’m talking about Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who seems to have a habit of monetizing his perceptions of the Constitution and his need to protect it. ..."

Want the Legislature’s attention? Write a bigger check — St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

"Toward the end of his reign as speaker of the Missouri House in 2012, Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, took two important steps to make sure his next career — lobbyist — would be lucrative.

"First, after pretending he was in favor of a sweeping ethics reform package, he made sure that any true reforms, such as closing the revolving door between lawmaking and lobbying, didn’t pass.

"Then, shortly before resigning to start his own lobbying and political consulting practice, he set up a committee to study the state’s transportation needs.

"Mr. Tilley’s first clients? The concrete lobby, of course, the construction, engineering and design firms that stand to benefit if a sales tax increase for roads passes on the November ballot. ..."

Credit Tom Miller for pursuing for-profit college ‘abuser’ — Des Moines Register Editorial

"The bottom line: For-profit colleges are businesses. Some will go to great lengths to attract and keep customers. While government officials have repeatedly exposed abuses, they have done too little to crack down on the abusers.

"Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller deserves credit for holding one of the industry’s abusers accountable.

"Ashford University in Clinton and its parent company, California-based Bridgepoint Education Inc., have agreed to pay the state of Iowa $7.25 million, according to a settlement announced last week. Much of that money will reimburse former and current Iowa students.

"The school, with more than 63,000 students, 96 percent of them enrolled in online courses, will also make changes to admission practices nationwide and cease misleading and deceptive practices. ..."

Airlines’ bid to hide taxes flies low on transparency — Spokane Spokesman-Review Editorial

"Surveying airline ticket prices is only slightly easier than taking in the view from a 747 lavatory, and the industry likes it just fine that way. ..."

Campaign slime and how to recognize it — San Jose Mercury News Editorial

"‘Tis the season, and it’s getting less jolly.

"Political campaigns are winding up, and it’s ugly out there, mostly thanks to independent committees wading into the mud while candidates they favor can stay starched and pressed. ..."

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