Short takes on the news
Still a good idea • In a rather odd meeting of the minds, Utah's Rep. Jason Chaffetz is championing a bill to crack down on tax-delinquent government contractors. It's an idea President Barack Obama introduced when he was a U.S. senator in 2007. The House unanimously passed the reasonable bipartisan legislation last week to ban federal agencies from giving large contracts and grants to bidders who are delinquent on their federal taxes. If you're going to do business with Uncle Sam, you'd better not owe him money. The Senate must still vote on the bill.
An Olympic dreamer • Spencer F. Eccles has long been one of the Beehive State's biggest sports boosters. The banker, civic leader and philanthropist has contributed to many Utah sports programs over the years, including the 2002 Winter Olympics for which his family contributed more than $30 million and athletics at the University of Utah the Rice-Eccles football stadium now partially bears his family name. For his contributions, he highly deserves the "Lifetime Achievement Award" he received from the Utah Sports Commission Tuesday. Eccles, an Ogden native, skied competitively for 13 years, was a four-year letterman at the U., an All-American and a member of the 1958 U.S. world championship ski team. He was a champion of Utah's Olympic bid and served on the executive boards of the bid and organizing committees.
A paper trail • Members of the Utah Legislature often sit in judgment of other folks when audit trails cast their spending in a less than favorable light. So it is only just that lawmakers themselves are now subject to a level of fiscal oversight that they had previously avoided. As of the second week of the 2013 session, legislators no longer received flat allowances to cover their lodging and meal costs, but had to file claims and submit receipts to be reimbursed for such expenses. Given the state's population pattern the bulk of people along the Wasatch Front, not that far from Utah's Capitol building the old system meant that a lot of money for hotels and restaurants went to members who slept and ate at home. Or slept at home and ate for free at the many spreads put on by associations, lobbyists and other interested parties. It's not that most legislators are taking a hit. The old pay and expenses compensation of $16,380 per session has become the same amount in base pay, with documented expenses on top. So taxpayer savings may be small or nonexistent. But now the money will go for what it is supposed to go for, and is not just a phony way to pocket more taxpayer money.