nIncoming U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is distinguishing himself faster than any Utah congressman in recent memory. In the face of the country’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression (a depression prolonged by then-President Herbert Hoover’s refusal to spend) Chaffetz says first item of business will be to co-sponsor a balanced budget amendment to forever bar the federal government from spending more than it takes in. That means no stimulus package for out-of-work Americans and no federal money for Utah roads and schools. If sleeping on a cot (wih taxpayer-funded health care and a government pension) is good enough for Utah’s newest congressman, it should be good enough for everybody. If not, they can always move to “Chaffetzville” tent cities surrounded by barbed wire. n
nGov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has publicly launched an education push aiming to build political support for education in the Beehive State. His just released report on preparing Utah workers “for the 21st century” notes that Utah high school graduates rank among the lowest in the nation for attending college and recommends focus on items like teacher recruitment, training for school administrators and early childhood education. The report took 5,000 hours of preparation in consultation with educators, business leaders and labor. Next, Huntsman will assemble yet another group of teachers, businesspeople and government types in January to begin crafting a plan. It’s a tedious and paper-wasting, but unfortunately necessary, preface to convincing Utah lawmakers to just funnel some real money into public schools.
nPutting the early kibosh on Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s plan to make Utah bars tourist-friendly, incoming Utah Senate President Mike Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, has enunciated a new reason for Utah’s private club system. While the requirement that tipplers pay for memberships seems hopelessly outdated to most everyone else, Waddoups recently told the Deseret News that club membership rolls are needed … to identify drinkers. Of course, the vision of Waddoups leafing through club lists to identify sinners is exactly what angry tourists and Utah private club members have always feared. Waddoups says his view on clubs was influenced by his wife’s being hit by a drunk driver years ago at 9 in the morning. Which, as every private-club member knows, is long, long after bar closing hours. tttt