Two Republican legislators in Davis County face primary-election challenges in their bids for re-election to the state House of Representatives. Throughout the county, four House races will be in primary ballots Sept. 11.
Rep. Walt Bain, R-Farmington, is being challenged by Clyde Marx; Rep. Stan Smedley, R-Bountiful, is being challenged by Clayne Arthur; two Republicans are vying for the seat being left open by Rep. Franklin Knowlton; and two American Party candidates are seeking a position on the general election ballot in District 20.The candidates gave the following answers to a Deseret News questionnaire:
With the retirement of Knowlton, R-Layton, the race in District 16 is wide open. At this point the Democratic candidate, Ron Holt, and the Libertarian hopeful, Patricia Hunt, are known. But it will take the Republican runoff between Bob Stevenson and Kevin Garn to set the November field.
Stevenson, 36, is a member of the Layton City Council. He is a district manager for the Carnation Co.
Garn is president of KSG Distributing and owns the Pegasus Music & Video chain.
The district includes most of Layton, excluding the section west of Kings Street.
Stevenson said he opposes the initiative to remove sales tax from food, as effects of removal would be far-reaching and hurt cities that are dependent on sales-tax revenue.
If the referendum is passed by voters, Stevenson would favor phasing it in to allow the Legislature to evaluate programs and make well-reasoned cuts. Stevenson said the Legislature should consider using some of the anticipated state surplus to offset the impact while programs are being evaluated. He said the Legislature also would have to look at other revenue sources for cities.
Garn said he sees the sales-tax issue as an effort to shift, rather than reduce, taxes. He generally favors tax cuts and would favor an incremental approach, to allow orderly budget adjustments resulting in an actual tax reduction, rather than a shift. Garn said he sees the sales tax vote as a mandate. If passed, he would look for ways to reduce state expenditures in line with the reduction in revenue. He, too, believes the anticipated state surplus could be used to mitigate the impact of a sales-tax reduction.
Garn said he would favor putting the state surplus into a rainy-day account for years when there are shortfalls. Part of the surplus, however, should be used for social programs that are underfunded and part for a tax cut.
Stevenson said he favors using surplus funds to "reinvest" in the state through increased education spending, economic development efforts and tax reductions that stimulate economic development efforts.
Both candidates expressed opposition to abortion on demand, favoring legal abortion only in cases of rape, incest or medical reasons affecting the health of the mother or child.
And, both candidates say they would vote for a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the American flag.
Stevenson said the major problem facing Utah is the need for continued economic growth.
"We have a state that is made up of many young families," Stevenson said. "It is important that we not only allow our youth to stay here in Utah and work, but also to bring in more opportunities to help the area grow."
Garn said the state needs to focus on its children. "The future of our nation is bleak if we do not invest in this (our children) vital resource," Garn said. "Government needs to be more sensitive to education and those who educate our children."
Garn also said more attention should be given to the poor and the aged and that there is a need to be more sensitive to the environment.
For the second time in two elections, incumbent Walt Bain, R-Farmington, must only win a primary election to guarantee re-election to the House of Representatives.
Four years ago, Bain, then a political unknown, upset archconservative incumbent Ute Knowlton in the primary and went on capture the seat in District 17, which represents Kaysville, Fruit Heights, Farmington and the northwest part of Centerville. Two years ago Bain won a narrow primary victory over another archconservative, Don Redd, and went to the November ballot unopposed.
This year, Bain, a pharmacist, faces an intraparty challenge from Clyde Marx, an optometrist. Again, it's a winner-take-all primary as there will be no November opposition.
Concerning efforts to remove the sales tax on food, Bain, 57, said he favors a sales-tax reduction but is not sure the present proposal is the right vehicle.
"I realize that Utah households need relief, especially lower-income households, but I'm not sure that this is the best way to get relief," Bain said. "I personally would be more in favor of reducing the sales tax generally, not just off of food."
Marx, 50, opposes the plan. "Although I generally favor any tax relief, I feel the loss of benefits would affect too many people in an adverse way."
Marx did not offer ideas on how he would deal with shortfalls in state revenue if the proposal passes or how local governments, the Utah Transit Authority and Winter Olympics funding should respond.
Marx said he would favor a fair distribution of state surplus funds throughout all tax-supported agencies.
Bain said legislators likely would have to dip into state surplus funds if the sales-tax initiative is approved. He said his legislative priorities would be safety on U.S. 89, education, human services and reducing drug-related crimes.
Concerning abortion, Marx said he would favor a law that allows rape, incest and the health of the mother as mitigating circumstances permitting abortion.
Bain said he is comfortable with the state's current law, which has restrictions only on use of public money and that the abortion be performed during the first trimester of pregnancy. He said he would be willing to consider a more conservative law if voters indicate they want one.
Both candidates said they favor a constitutional amendment banning desecration or burning of the American flag and would vote to ratify such an amendment if elected to the Legislature.
Marx said dealing with the state budget, environmental issues and protecting the state's standard of living are his main concerns.
Bain said he believes education, social services and crowded and unsafe road conditions are priority issues to be addressed.
Marx, who enjoys working on antique cars in his spare time, has previously served on the Kaysville Planning Commission.
Bain, who is involved with the American Cancer Society and Davis County Council on Aging, served as a Farmington planning commissioner and City Council member before his election to the Legislature.
Incumbent Republican Stan Smedley will have to win a primary election against newcomer Clayne Arthur if he hopes to win a third term on Capitol Hill.
The winner of the primary will face Libertarian Pat Soper in November.
Smedley, 50, is an attorney who enjoys playing squash, canoeing and four-wheel-drive vehicles in his spare time. He also devotes time to the American Cancer Society, Rotary International and the United Way.
Arthur, 41, is an engineer. He served on the Ontario, Calif., planning commission advisory committee and has done volunteer work for the Instrument Society of America as both section president and show committee chairman.
The district comprises Centerville, except for the area north of Parrish Lane and west of Main Street; West Bountiful; Bountiful north of 400 North; and an area of Bountiful bounded by 400 North and 600 South from 800 East to 1300 East.
Smedley said he favors the right of the voters to decide the sales-tax-on-food issue; personally, he plans to vote against the measure. Smedley said there have been efforts to provide tax relief to the poor using other methods. Utah's sales tax is not overly burdensome, and the state tax system is well-balanced overall.
Arthur said he favors removing the sales tax on food. He said it unfairly burdens families with lower incomes and tax decreases historically have produced increases in economic output, benefiting the overall tax picture. Arthur said the economic stimulation would reduce the projected revenue loss by between $10 million and $20 million.
Arthur also believes the state can absorb a sales-tax cut without increasing other taxes.
"There is currently a tax surplus in the state which could be used to offset about one-third to one-half of the shortfall," Arthur said. "With the tax revenue increase (from economic stimulation) that leaves less than one-third of the tax cut to reduced spending."
Smedley said it is too early to determine how best to deal with revenue shortfalls that would follow removal of the sales tax on food.
Smedley said the state would have some responsibility for helping local governments affected, and because the Utah Transit Authority and Winter Olympics efforts have received voter mandates, voters would have to be given an opportunity to vote on alternative funding methods for these groups.
Arthur said state help to local governments affected by the reduction should be short-term, limited to one or two years. He said local governments would then have to decide whether to reduce services or seek a property tax increase. He said UTA spending should be reduced, and the Winter Olympics should not be paid for by the taxpayers.
Smedley said he tends to support allowances for abortion in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother. He said he is open to ideas and suggestions on how best to solve this "hard" issue.
Arthur said he to supports abortion in cases of rape, incest or for the medical need of the mother. He said he would also like to see more effort to protect the rights and interests of fathers.
Arthur said the major issue facing the state is economic development. He said many issues are related to economic development, including education, transportation and other infrastructure needs. He said high taxes are dampening the local economy.
Smedley said the state faces many major issues, but he believes one of the most pressing is the need for government officials to win back the confidence of the public. He said the distrust that residents have toward government is creating some difficult problems.
American Party candidates Stuart Maughan and Herbert Henderson will face off in the Sept. 11 primary to determine who will be the lone challenger to Republican Nancy Lyon in House District 20 come November.
Maughan, 34, is a manufacturing engineer who enjoys hunting, fishing and camping. He serves as vice chairman of Weber County School District's Technical Education Steering Committee for Post Secondary Education.
Henderson, 62, is a retired railroad clerk. He enjoys gardening and is involved in a variety of volunteer efforts.
The district includes Bountiful south of Mueller Park Road; Val Verda; North Salt Lake; and Woods Cross west of 1100 West.
Both candidates express strong support for removing the sales tax from food.
"First, I believe it is a moral issue," Maughan said. "We should not be taxed on an item that is a necessity to exist. Everyone understands a tax on a luxury item to help cover consequences of its use, but not on a necessity."
Maughan said he believes there is enough surplus in state coffers and it is time to end what he calls a regressive tax.
Henderson said, "All taxes are beyond reason. Any relief that can be gotten from the thieves in our governmental systems are justified."
Henderson said he supports reducing the size of state government and believes other savings could be achieved to offset the revenue shortfall created by the loss of sales taxes by cutting excessive employee benefits for state workers.
Maughan said he believes the impact of removing the sales tax on food can be mitigated locally by diverting an additional portion of the sales tax to the cities.
Both candidates want the Utah Transit Authority disbanded.
Henderson favors eliminating public funding for Utah's Olympics effort; Maughan said he needs more time to study the Olympics issue.
Maughan said he favors allowing abortion only in cases of rape or where the mother's health is in jeopardy. He said in all other instances, the rights of the baby should take precedent. He does not favor a new amendment on flag burning because he believes it falls under the provisions governing people who try to destroy the U.S. government.
Henderson said he believes the Supreme Court has overstepped bounds on the abortion issue and that abortion legislation is a states-rights issue.
He does not favor a constitutional amendment on flag burning but says, "Any person caught desecrating the flag should be shot on the spot."