OK, so maybe it came at the 11th hour, when the C-word (compromise) was all but inevitable. Still, you have to give U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop a high-five for trying to be practical amid tea party muscle-pumping in the principle-laden budget debate. He not only said he could support House Speaker John Boehner’s ill-fated bill, but realized that protecting the nation’s credit rating is top priority. Sure, he wants a balanced budget and would work for an amendment. But a balanced-budget amendment wouldn’t just materialize overnight. That didn’t seem to matter to Sens. Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch or Rep. Jason Chaffetz, all of whom signed a pledge to “cut, cap and balance” the budget. Now. No matter what the consequences. Not signing the pledge to be brainless could give Bishop some fits in his district, where tea-party activists want to “talk” to him about his stance. As if he weren’t conservative enough.
V ouchers in Disguise
There’s the old saying: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck. Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, needs to recognize a duck call when he hears one. Stephenson is one of the powers behind an upcoming legislative study of tuition tax credits, collective bargaining for public employees and collection of union dues from employee paychecks. These are all issues that have been hashed out publicly and in the courts, but never mind. It’s the tuition tax-credit idea that has educators up in arms. Aren’t they just vouchers in disguise? Stephenson says no, even though they would be designed to move students from public to private institutions. The idea is to give businesses a tax break if they donate to private scholarship groups. Hmm. Fewer taxes going to public ed? Follow the quacking duck.
The city of West Jordan is embroiled in a dispute over whether developer Terry Diehl should mow the weeds in his Sycamores development. Maybe this pales in comparison to his former conflicts on the board of Utah Transit Authority and his monetary interest in transit-oriented developments in Draper. But West Jordan says he is responsible until all parts of an agreement have been met. Diehl’s response: Sue the city. The dispute has been ongoing since March 2010. It’s a tough economy, and developers are finding themselves strapped for money. But we can only hope that the city—like so many others—doesn’t change the rules to benefit the developer.