Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Who would you trust to run a $1 billion organization and grow our economy? Someone who has never been responsible for a budget? Or an experienced business leader who has turned around and grown dozens of companies?
Our Salt Lake County government is a complex, billion-dollar organization. Our county mayor runs the day-to-day operations of 3,600 employees and more than 300 programs. It is an executive, not a legislative job. And we need a proven executive.
How many times have we heard politicians say they will improve services and keep our taxes down? All the time. How many times have they done it? Almost never. Why? Because to keep taxes down, you have to keep spending down. And to keep spending down, you can't just slash programs or order across-the-board cuts. If you do, you break things. Soon, you are spending more money than ever before.
To sustainably keep taxes down, we have to limit borrowing and redesign the way we do our work, program by program and function by function. We will make things simpler, replace paperwork with computer clicks and focus on better outcomes.
Having helped dozens of organizations — like Kaiser Permanente health care, North American Van Lines and, recently, Bank of America (saving billions of dollars a year) — I am confident we will find at least $40 million per year of savings at the county. We can make sure the county doesn't compete with schools for scarce tax dollars, and we can make some needed investments in the human services programs that deeply touch so many of our families.
For the month-by-month plan of how we do this next year, please see www.markcrockett.com.
Why human services? Nearly everyone in our valley has a mother they hope can stay in her home, a stepson flirting with drugs, a neighbor in and out of trouble, an uncle with chronic mental health problems or kids who are struggling in school.
Helping people and families in need is the unique role of county government — seniors citizens, at-risk kids, the homeless, refugees, jail, drug treatment and mental health. Of course we will continue to invest in parks, trails, transportation, economic development and the arts. But above all else, our county government is a service organization.
By focusing on evidence-based outcomes and building stronger links between our amazing volunteer organizations and the people who struggle, we can be even better and wiser in the ways we serve. We can save more lives and families. We can strengthen our community. Over time, we can save a lot of tax dollars as well.
We can become a model for the nation to follow.
Four years ago, we listened to President Barack Obama, a polished but inexperienced lawyer and two-year senator, talk about hope, collaboration and change. Unfortunately, he hasn't collaborated and wasn't qualified for the job. Our debt has skyrocketed, and he has never passed a budget.
I support Mitt Romney for president because he is a good man with real experience leading and turning around companies, the Olympics and the state of Massachusetts. He is qualified for the job and ready to lead.
Similarly, if we want to keep taxes down and improve our critical regional and human services in Salt Lake County, we need someone who is qualified to do the job on day one. Having served four years on the County Council and understanding its programs — and having led large organizations like the county before — I ask for your vote as our next county mayor.
Together we can keep taxes down, support our schools, grow our economy, improve our human services programs and build an even better community.
Mark Crockett is the Republican candidate for Salt Lake County mayor.
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