I am not in favor of the government telling companies or individuals how to spend their money. If the concern is that an elected official will become beholden to these institutions, we already have laws that cover this, and these officials should be prosecuted.
This is a difficult question that has no good, quick or easy solution. There are several reasons people become and remain homeless, and the legislature is poorly designed to solve this problem on a case by case basis. Ultimately, the best avenue is to make available resources to local institutions and communities, prosecute career criminal homeless populations, and institutionalize and provide help for those with mental illness and drug addictions. I do not support government intervention in affordable housing, as this has almost universally exacerbated the problem and has long term impacts on destabilizing housing prices upwards (instead of downward as intended) among other problems.
While school funding is important, and I support school being funded properly, it is not nearly the most important factor in student success. Utah spends almost 50% less per student than other states on average, yet our students outperform many other states in the country. I worked with my wife on the PTA for many years and spent a year building a WatchDOGs chapter for our kids elementary school to bring in more male volunteers and role models into schools. The school overall performance increased year after year, no doubt in part because of the new involvement of many parents. Parental involvement is the biggest determination in a student's success, and good students make good schools. The solution is rarely to throw more money at problems.
I do not. Equal rights based on immutable characteristics like gender or race and constitutionally protected rights like free speech and free exercise of religion are basic, common sense. I do not support expanding these basic rights outside of this scope because it lessens the importance of these fundamental principles of our constitution. When instances of civil rights are being infringed upon based on other characteristics, I would look to specific legislation to provide relief, if necessary.
Retired Public School Teacher
B.S. Secondary Education; Language Arts & Music
Master of Arts, Linguistics (ESL Instruction)
I strongly favor limits on donations to political campaigns. Unlimited donations create third-party perversions in a system intended for trust between voters and the people they elect. In recent years, we have seen growing evidence of the level of influence from large donors with increasingly open plans to “select” leaders who will use their power for the donors’ interests. It corresponds that the heightened degree of suspicion by voters has made them and candidates as well susceptible to speculation and historically unsound political theories. Even the most genuine candidates and campaigns now face distortions based on the real or expected influence of large donors, and voters must continually wonder whose “voice” they are hearing, especially when it’s staged with distracting amounts of expensive commercial appeal. Limits on campaign donations is one step toward reshaping an election system that upholds the dignity of voters and honorable candidates who want to serve our communities.
The state legislature has a duty to examine what is disagreeable about homelessness, but also to develop steps and resources for people to correct and prevent the long-term, underlying elements that lead to homelessness. Plenty of private sector organizations with research and designs for more fully functioning communities are ready to partner, but policy makers must be ready to monitor and regulate against unfair and unjust obstacles and barriers. Policies that reflect Utah values can provide minimum wages; affordable, accessible healthcare and childcare; and realistic lending practices by payday lenders –topics regularly discussed for their impact on the daily lives of Utahns, and topics constantly noted as influences when our citizens turn to drugs, another huge issue for people experiencing homelessness. Utah legislators can reflect the interests of all the populations they represent and create statewide policies for balancing the forces that influence homelessness and housing.
Utah school funding, just as Utah school quality, is a state topic and a state funding issue. As we emphasize all sorts of exciting future elements of larger populations, more infrastructure, and more business and housing development, we must adjust our discussion of tax increases and/or a more equitable tax structure.
Utah’s “equalization” policies illustrate exactly what Utahns oppose in discussions about socialism. Recent tax restructuring discussions suggest turning over additional funding obligations to local school districts, but limited local revenues and local funding will create larger inequities among districts and families and diminish the overall quality of Utah’s public schools. Utah continues to rank high in the nation in birth rate and pupil/teacher ratios. Our Utah value discussions of accountability and responsibility can and must include fair and equitable revenue sources and distribution of funding from the state level.
Yes, Utah should ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Not only have Utah women always exemplified the strengths and leadership qualities that built our state and country, the words in our state Constitution align with Utahn’s views of the side-by-side power of people, working together to accomplish common goals and sustain common interests. The arguments against Utah ratification in the 1970s no longer apply or are even more distorted than they were then. “Equality of rights” is a meaningful concept in this country and in Utah. The people of Utah deserve to see it upheld and applied to illustrate how inclusiveness increases community success and strength.