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Comments about ‘My view: ALEC coverage a disservice to Utah’

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Published: Friday, May 31 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Good letter.
I too noticed the multiple ALEC articles.

Does ALEC have ties to DN ownership?

one old man
Ogden, UT

ALEC is dangerous. Intelligent voters need to learn all they can about this organization and its goals. They cloak their insidious agendas in patriotic jingoism and try to sell it to gullible state legislators.

Many of our Utah legislators are members of this organization and we've seen several of its agendas pop up in legislation here in Utah.

Voters need to learn what ALEC is and especially learn which of our legislators are members. After doing your homework, then you can vote wisely to keep this organization from achieving its destructive goals.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

ALEC is a political group that leans right where as the writer is part of a group that leans left. Both have the right to express their views and issue findings on what states are doing well but Utah is far and above doing better than most states.

Per pupil spending will always be lower here because of the demographic. We have large families its a simple math equation that tells you we will always be lower than vermont where people don't have kids.

As far as access to benefits that ratio is a joke as it doesn't tell you if people are actually getting access to charity or not all that measure tells us is if the state is allocating budget resources to medicaid.

The writer hasn't talked about the results in California, Illinios or New York where their states are in huge budget trouble or that poverty is much higher there then here. and cost of living makes all wages below the uber rich worth less.

Results matter and that is what ALEC rates.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Hammer, you need to update your information on California. Under the current Democrat governor, they are turning around the budget mess that was left for them by their recent Republican governors.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

California didn't have a budget mess until Dems controlled everything from the house to the gov mansion at the end of the 90s. And you can't blame the Terminator for a problem that existed before he was there, and how do I know that? because I lived there when that state recalled the Dem governor. And if you have been watching you will see that California doesn't have control of their finances. They can't manage their services they have a huge unfunded liability and they use budget gimmicks to make up the shortfall. Its not a secret among the financial community that California has been hanging by a thread for a long time and it hasn't gotten better. California is a mess.

Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

@The Hammer

"Per pupil spending will always be lower here because of the demographic."

We know you have too many kids. But your "explanation" does not address the issue that Utah does not educate them properly. Look at the abysmal rankings of Utah's high schools. Why is BYU's engineering program rated 107th in the nation (is that related to demographics)?

Utah depends heavily on federal spending and the LDS Church. Take those both away and Utah would be Mississippi.

Your comments about California are dated and wrong. I am in the "financial community" and California is coming back strong (on its own). I have lived in both places and can say that prices are higher here because people want to live here. Prices are lower there because... well. California leads the nation in technology, farm production, education and most other statistics not invented by ALEC. Utah leads the nation as the place where businesses can best exploit customer service employees.

4601
Salt Lake City, UT

California has "solved" their budget mess by simply raising taxes. By not addressing the underlying problems, that's not much of a solution. It's like fixing a leaky bucket by turning up the hose that fills it. California remains a poster child for governmental inefficiency, special interests, dysfunctional legislature and willful ignorance. Yes, ALEC is pro business growth. Businesses employ people, pay taxes and provide needed goods and services. Mr. Obama's mantra is You didn't do that, the government did. ALEC's mantra is We can't wait or depend on the government to guarantee prosperity.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

@wastedtime

Utah graduation rate greater than 90%
California grad rate is ranked 48th in nation.
BYU has the top business and accounting school, University of utah is top 50 for business and top 100 for engineering and 107th isn't bad when you take into account that their are thousands of universities and engineering programs. What do you do in finance sell literature or life ins?

And California didn't solve its problem they just passed the buck onto the cities who now have to come up with the shortfall (most of which are going bancrupt or on the verge) and even then the state is facing a huge risk as they are on the hook for the unfunded liabilities of the city if they city goes belly up. Raising taxes may have covered the accounting of the budget but wait a year when you see the actual numbers. Dude look at the numbers and the budget and what they did. Its all accounting tricks.

Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

Re:TheHammer

Sources?

According to the most recent data by the U.S. Dept of Education, UT and CA high school graduation rates were 76%.

CA exceeded UT in graduation rates for economically disadvantaged students and English second language students.

According to U.S. Census data, % of people 25 yrs and older with Bachelors degrees, CA ranks #14 in the U.S., UT ranks #16.

With such a homogenous population, one would think UT rankings would be higher.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:TheHammer

Until recently, CA state budget required 2/3 majority passage by state legislators.

Gray Davis was the Gov. Of CA during the late 90's and early 2000's.

California was producing record budget surpluses under Davis even after his tax cuts (he cut sales taxes and vehicle licensing fees) and new spending (primarily on education). According to the California Department of Finance, California had a 10% surplus at the end of 1999 and California was projected to have a 4% surplus at the end fiscal year 2000.

Then, the dot-com boom that had been fueling California's record tax revenues burst unexpectedly because of the large number of high tech firms in California and California's dependence on state income taxes. When the dot-com boom turned to bust, state revenues fell while ongoing spending commitments created deficits. Restoring the licensing fees to pre tax cut levels to close the budget gap and stabilize the state's credit rating became unpopular.

Additionally, the Enron scandal, electric market manipulation by energy trading firms primarily located in TX, cost CA billions.

CA is doing better due to some cost cutting and tax increases. There still remain challenges.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

?The problem with ALEC is that this state has one party rule. As such there is little challenge to the legislation that they promote and even write. The Republic establishment in Utah is just a ditto head rubber stamp for whatever ALEC thing is good. That is just not healthy.

Cougarista
Salt Lake City, UT

@Wastintime
What does BYU's engineering school have to do with ALEC? But, if you bring up BYU, why not mention their highly ranked accounting, law and MBA programs, the very high percentage of graduates accepted to graduate school (as in the Ivy League), BYU's ranking in the top 100 US universities, their high average ACT scores and the fact that the top third of the 6000 entering freshmen have the qualifications to attend any elite school in California or elsewhere? Considering the epidemic problem of drugs and binge drinking on college campuses, being the #1 stone cold university may be something you want to mention next time.

Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

@Cougarista

I mention the fact that the finest university in the state of Utah has not a first tier, not a second tier, but a .... wait for it... third tier engineering program to illustrate how Utah is falling behind the world in education. While BYU is ranked in he middle of the pack in some areas, MBA's, lawyers and accountants do not create anything and will not help Utah be competitive in the future. Only 3 Utah high schools are ranked in the top 1,000 in the country (and this country's high schools are not great).

The DN likes to write about ALEC and Utahns like to congratulate yourselves and put down California, but California is making the investment today to be competitive tomorrow. More than 200 of America's top 1,000 high schools are located in California, and universities like Stanford, Berkeley, Cal Tech, UCLA, Harvey Mudd (the many more) are turning out the crucial world-class engineers and scientists so sorely needed in our country.

Utah has not pulled its weight in the past and is not positioning to pull its weight in the future and people's heads seem to buried in the sand.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

Maryann,
Would you rather the DN censor news on ALEC?

Cougarista
Salt Lake City, UT

Wastintime,
"While BYU is ranked in he middle of the pack in some areas, MBA's, lawyers and accountants do not create anything and will not help Utah be competitive in the future." Actually ranked higher than middle of the pack and these accountants, attorneys and MBAs will be amused that they are not contributing to society. It was decided in the 1950's that BYU would concentrate on quality undergraduate education, a goal they have achieved remarkably well, and at the same time support respectable graduate programs. Different schools have different strengths and Utah's graduate schools are very competitive as are Utah State's engineering and other technical programs. Comparing California and Utah is a foolish exercise, apples and oranges. Having escaped from California I don't need a lecture on their virtues.

Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

@Cougarista

You altered what I said. I did not say accountants, MBA's and attorneys (by the way, I am two of those) do not contribute anything. I said they do not CREATE anything. I stand by that.

Your observation that BYU is working on 1950s goals sounds accurate to me. But unfortunately this is the year 2013 and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education has been recognized as being very important in the world (outside of Utah). California schools have particularly recognized the importance of STEM education, and their world-class universities are producing the graduates needed for future technological advances.

I agree that comparing Utah and California is ridiculous. And I never see it happen on the pages of California newspapers. But Utah newspapers seem to like to compare Utah to other states like California, so once in a while I feel the need (having once escaped Utah) to provide a dose of reality.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Voter Turnout?
Our only problem is that the voter turnout has not kept up with the population increase. The voter turnout keeps going up but not as fast as the population. Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger percentage of them and they aren't, as a group, as involved. Some of that are those moving in and not understanding our system.

People like Doug Wright (and this article) should be helping, but he, in my opinion, is making it worse.

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