Well, things haven’t been going too well for UTOPIA, the much-touted fiber-optics solution to sluggish Internet. But wrapped up in the gushing loss of taxpayer dollars are competing and compelling philosophies of government. The Taxpayer Association’s Royce Van Tassel thinks government should not be in the business of business. So, even if UTOPIA weren’t $120 million in the hole, he probably wouldn’t like it. XMission founder Pete Ashdown has a different take. He doesn’t see why UTOPIA is expected to make a profit—roads and airports aren’t. He blames lawsuits from private competitors and bad management. Ashdown thinks government should take it over so competitors could use the network. As it is now, we have a private monopoly on the cable network. Can you spell Comcast?
And then there was the property tax. Salt Lake County got an earful from angry taxpayers who don’t want their taxes raised for police services. It came to this because, first, sales taxes are down and flaky and, second, because the Legislature outlawed a county fee to make up the difference. So, who should taxpayers be railing at? Looks like a lot of them are angry with the Unified Police, and Jim Winder personally. “Salt Lake County is the most bloated and wasteful level of government in Utah,” says the Taxpayer Association’s Royce Van Tassell. Some unincorporated areas are ramping up talk of becoming cities to avoid the evil taxman. But can another layer of government really solve this matter? And if the Legislature doesn’t like what they do, well, they’ll just pass another law.
And you thought the Outdoor Retailers were just about kayaks and waders. First, we were treated to a political rant from Outdoor Industry Association President Frank Hugelmeyer, who thinks Utah’s being wrong-headed in trying to take control of 30 million acres of public land. The Sagebrush Rebellion types don’t want to hear from those environmental types. Then comes United By Blue, a clothing and accessories company that purports to remove a pound of trash from oceans and waterways for every product sold. In Utah, it chose the Jordan River and took 35 retailers to remove 24 bags of trash from along the waterway. Sound like a small task? Since its creation in 2010, United By Blue has removed 138,871 pounds of trash in 18 states.