Dear Jon | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Dear Jon 

A letter to Jon Huntsman Jr., more kids means fewer taxes in Utah and some perspective on the inland port debate.

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Dear Jon
Dear Ambassador Huntsman: Are you getting lots of letters now from across the country? Are they all pleading with you, as The Salt Lake Tribune's Robert Gehrke did, to grow a pair? We get that you're all about service to your country and that your family wants you to stick it out. But the vast majority of folks have no idea what you really stand for, and, frankly, are looking for someone to make a strong statement in defense of our country. You know, like John McCain, who has become an unlikely hero in the face of democracy's demise. Do you still want to run for president some day? Hey, this is not the path to name recognition. Still, our Jon Huntsman Jr. doesn't really like public controversy and these days, that's what gets you known. So in the meantime, you just stay comfy in your Moscow residence, and watch out for those poison towels.

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More Kids? No Problem
Wait, what? We need to have more kids? Lots more? In the age of tax-cut mania, Utah has chosen the route of tax credits, and the winners are those who bring us the most little souls from heaven. This is true both for Mormons and immigrants, who tend to have more children than other groups. And so, we reward them. Land, water and clean air are at a premium and in a dystopian initiative called Wasatch Choice 2050, the county predicts high-density urban living for just about everyone. We are not a communist country that can limit births, but surely we can do better than a $30-million tax break on state income taxes. That's about $170 for a family of five, according to the Deseret News. What if we'd taken that money and put it toward schools? Too late now.

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In(land)fighting
There's probably a lot to be said about Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski's apparent inability to work with her city council. Still, there are times when standing up against tyranny is the only option—even if you lose. Residents of Salt Lake City understand the tyranny of the state, which has a long history of beating down its urban capital city. Go back to the Legacy Highway when in 2001, then-Mayor Rocky Anderson joined a lawsuit against it. Why? Pollution and wetlands. This is not unlike the fight against the Inland Port and its pollution potential, which even The Salt Lake Tribune has questioned. So, Biskupski has refused to deal, and her council has gone meekly forward. Former Mayor Ted Wilson noted in a recent letter to the editor that it's likely to be tied up in court for a long time. And let's not forget the economic downside of Trumpian tariffs. Let's keep fighting—for our lives.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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