Fiscal Responsibility

I think it’s important to remember that the government doesn’t make money. The people of Utah make money and earn a living through their hard work and industry. The government generates revenue by taking a portion of our income through taxation. Government has a natural tendency to grow, which costs more money. As your representative in the house it is my duty to fight that growth and make sure spending is absolutely necessary and constitutionally permissible. Fortunately in Utah our constitution requires us to have a balanced budget and stay within a certain debt limit. However, we also need to be aware of the amount of federal funds we use both on the state level and within our counties and cities. The federal government is broke and deficit spends every year. The strings attached to the federal money we receive is often not worth the value and Utah needs to get on a self-sustaining path that eliminates dependency on federal funds. 

Limited Government

I love the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The government only has power to do that which it has derived from the consent of the governed. Our Constitution has a set of limited powers it places on the government, most of which can be found in Article 1 Section 8. All other powers are left to the states and the people. Too often now we find that the government is legislating limits on the people and taking away powers and rights which I consider to be included in our unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Special interests use the power of government to prop up their agenda which increases it’s size, costs us more money and reduces our liberty.

Education

Shakespeare said, “There is no darkness but ignorance.” I believe widespread education is the basis of a free people. Our state constitution stipulates that education be available to all children and empowers the legislative branch with the authority to maintain a public education system. While the public education system has been a great option for many Utah school children I believe there needs to be many educational options available for parents and children to choose from, the government shouldn’t have a monopoly on education. I also agree with Tony Wagner (Author of The Global Achievement Gap) that the following values and skills are critical to our school curriculum: critical thinking, agility, adaptability, initiative, curiosity, imagination, entrepreneurialism and creativity.

State Sovereignty

The constitution provides a clear separation of powers, both horizontal and vertical. Most of us understand the horizontal separation (legislative branch, executive and judiciary), the vertical separation is between the Federal Government, the States and ultimately the people. Over the past 100 years or more the vertical separation of powers has become increasingly blurred, powers that should be left to the states and the people are being usurped by the Federal Government. Federalism is at risk as our national government assumes more and more powers and starts to affect and regulate the every day lives of the people. I agree with Chief Justice Roberts when he said “The States are separate and independent sovereigns. Sometimes they have to act like it.” Utah should lead out on this issue and say no to federal over reach and remind the Federal Government that it was the States who created the Federal Government in the first place.

Property Rights

The right to own and maintain property is one of the most important of our God-given unalienable rights. Without it all other freedoms are compromised. Property is that which we are able to create from the sweat of our brow. It is with property that we build our homes, support families, acquire a farm, an office, a factory, machinery and tools and enter the occupation of our choice. The possession and creation of property is ultimately an extension of ourselves and is a representation of our ability to exercise our God given rights and talents.

Property consists of the Earth’s raw materials and energy which have been organized into usable products such as food, clothing and shelter. Unless one is free to acquire and utilize these forms of property, his ability to be free and independent ceases, he becomes dependent upon others for sustenance. While men differ widely in the amount of property they desire to own and control, everyone wants enough to sustain life and enable him to achieve his purposes. Therefore everyone needs his right to own property protected against theft, destruction, over-regulation, and redistribution.

Individual Responsibility

The preamble of the constitution starts out with “We the people”. I think sometimes we forget, and legislators certainly forget, that the powers held by the government comes from the consent of the governed, or “We the people”. As a people we need to stop turning over responsibility for our lives and decisions we make to the government. Our virtue and morality is largely based on the domain of responsibility we have as individuals and it is lost as we remove individual responsibility and accountability over our lives and transfer it to the government. The role of government should not be paternal in nature, it should enable individuals to make choices, associate with others, enter into contracts, obtain property and yes, even fail. Individual responsibility is also a necessary companion to liberty and is required to maintain a free and prosperous society. 

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