Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Here are big issues of the 2013 legislative session

Published: Sunday, Feb. 24 2013 12:31 a.m. MST

Government still works in Utah and many other states. Tough decisions are made. Budgets are balanced. A proper balance is struck between what government should and should not do. But in Washington, government is broke, dysfunctional and way out of balance. It can't even accomplish the things it should be doing, like immigration, let alone the myriad programs that should have been left to the states.

Does it make sense to move the Utah State Prison to make way for a high-tech business corridor?

Pignanelli: For years, Utahns visited Draper only on school field trips to the prison (The inmates' "straight talk" didn't work on me). The Draper facility has four decades of operational life before massive upgrades or a move is required. But the prison is a 700-acre roadblock in the middle of a high-technology corridor, an important feature of our expanding economy. State officials are shrewdly developing plans to utilize the property for economic development and using the proceeds to build a new correctional facility without burdening the taxpayers. I am one of many lobbyists with clients interested in the project — a clear signal this endeavor will be high profile for years to come.

Webb: The northern Utah County/southern Salt Lake County high-tech corridor is already attracting some of the biggest technology companies in the world. This is a big deal for jobs and economic development. The prison should be moved, but the process of selecting developers and vendors must be transparent and fair, without any taint of insider influence.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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