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As lights go out, Matheson tells Utah lawmakers how to power economy

Published January 31, 2013 2:13 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Just as Rep. Jim Matheson started talking Thursday to the Utah Senate about the need to develop affordable energy supplies, the lights went out.

"I thought we hit the fiscal cliff before March 1," joked Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan.

As the lights came back on quickly, Matheson talked about ways to keep the lights from going out on America's economy — including reducing uncertainty now caused by bickering in Washington, seeking more free-trade agreements and better targeting education to meet economic opportunities.

Matheson said he hopes Washington will stop "kicking the can down the road" by delaying decisions on how to avoid the fiscal cliff. "Until there's greater certainty in the markets, and we have the ability to deal with a manageable federal budget, that's going to be a problem" hurting the economy.

"There are lots of temporary tax deals that expire after one or two years," he added. "We need more clarity in our tax policy so people can make longer-term decisions."

He said regulations also change so often that, in football terms, it is like having a referee stand "right in front of the wide receiver so he can't go out for a pass."

He called for less aggressive regulation.

Matheson called a U.S. Senate proposal on comprehensive immigration reform "a four-page document of principles."

"As you all know as legislators," he added, "it is important to know what the details are."

ldavidson@sltrib.com