Retired principal Bruce LaMar Wasden challenges Rep. Kelly Atkinson, D-West Jordan, in a state legislative district that Republicans have high hopes of capturing.
Longtime political activist Paul Hiskey is the Democratic challenger against Rep. Michael Waddoups, R-Bennion, in a district that Democrats think might swing their way.Those are two of five races for state House of Representatives seats in the southwest part of Salt Lake County. All will be on the general election ballot Nov. 6.
One race became a little simpler last week - for Rep. Mont Evans, when his Democratic opponent withdrew.
Incumbent R. Mont Evans, R-Riverton, battles Libertarian Kitty K. Burton for the House seat. Democrat Sandy Greenlief withdrew from the race when she moved from the district.
Evans believes financing education and expanding economic development are the biggest challenges facing Utah. Utah needs to prepare its children to be competitive in the 21st century, he said.
He would spend some of the state surplus to finance education if the sales-tax initiative fails. The rest would go back to taxpayers, he said, but he did not specify how much should go back.
If the initiative to remove sales tax from food passes, Evans believes the surplus should be used to finance budget shortfalls.
Evans supports the removal of the food tax. "I support sales-tax reduction. I voted for two sales-tax reductions prior to supporting the income-tax reduction passed by the Legislature."
Evans advocates using revenue surpluses to supplement state budgets if the food-tax initiative passes. "Only as a last resort would I raise taxes to provide for shortfalls."
If the initiative passes, Evans believes, local governments and the Utah Transit Authority must adjust to cuts in their budgets. "They will have to adjust to shortfalls with existing resources. I will attempt to finance Utah's bid for the Olympics."
Evans supports abortion only in the case of rape, incest or when the mother's life is threatened by the pregnancy. "I am very strongly in favor of more restrictive abortion laws."
Evans would vote to ratify a constitutional amendment banning desecration of the American flag.
Evans, a 43-year-old social worker, has served two terms in the House. He has served on the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission of Riverton.
Kitty K. Burton did not return the Deseret News questionnaire. The paper tried repeatedly to reach her but could not.
District 44 includes West Jordan south of 7800 South and west of about 3600 West, the Welby area of South Jordan, Riverton, Bluffdale and Draper.
Republican incumbent Lloyd Frandsen opposes the removal of sales tax on food and believes that if the initiative passes, other taxes may have to be raised.
"The loss of this much revenue would most likely require an adjustment in the other sales taxes or an adjustment to income taxes," he said.
Frandsen would use any 1989-90 revenue surplus for one-time expenditures, noting there is a projected revenue shortfall in 1992.
If the U.S. Supreme Court allows state legislatures more control in legal abortions, Frandsen would support abortions only in the case of rape, incest or a pregnancy that threatens the life of the mother.
Frandsen would not vote to ratify a constitutional amendment prohibiting desecration of the flag. "I deeply respect the flag and all it stands for, but I do not believe that it is appropriate to mix symbol with substance in the Constitution."
Frandsen believes increasing medical costs as well as the increasing needs in education, transportation and services to the handicapped are the biggest challenges facing Utah.
"The solution is balancing our needs with our ability to pay," he said.
Frandsen, 42, is director of Advantage Plan Administrators, a medical claims processing company.
Democratic candidate Sid White favors the removal of the sales tax on food, saying the tax "robs our poor and old."
If the initiative passes, White would vote to restructure the income tax. "Second, we have businesses currently in the state that aren't paying state tax. They should start paying."
With the restructuring of income tax, local government should not experience revenue shortfalls from the loss of sales tax, he said.
If the state sees a surplus this year and the food-tax initiative fails, White favors spending the money on textbooks and school supplies.
White doesn't believes legislators have any business deciding abortion issues. He suggests putting the issue on a general election ballot if the U.S. Supreme Court gives states more leeway in controlling abortion.
"As for myself and my family, I would support abortion only for the safety of the mother or in the case of rape. As for others, it's not my decision."
White would vote to ratify a constitutional amendment prohibiting the burning of the flag.
He believes the biggest challenge facing Utah is high taxes. "Encourage others to pay our taxes for us," he suggested, citing conventions, tourists and tourist-related industry and potential taxpayers.
White, 34, works for US WEST in operator services.
Libertarian candidate Maury Modine favors the removal of sales tax on food, calling it "a step toward individual freedom."
"The necessities of life should never be taxed. It's time for government to tighten its belt."
If the tax were removed, Modine would encourage the free market to pick up the slack in services and would work to reduce government spending. He would deal with shortfalls to the Utah Transit Authority and Winter Olympic funding by encouraging privatization of transportation and recreation.
Modine believes a multimillion-dollar surplus projected for fiscal 1989-90 should offset the revenues lost by removal of the food tax. If the money isn't used for that purpose it should be refunded to taxpayers, he said.
Modine believes abortion is a personal choice constitutionally protected.
Modine would oppose a constitutional amendment banning desecration of the American flag. "Why desecrate constitutional freedoms by amending the Constitution," he asked.
Modine, 34, makes a living as an industrial pipefitter and enjoys tennis, gardening, learning and reading editorials.
American Party candidate Arly H. Pedersen calls the sales tax on food unfair and supports its removal. "Poor people are paying a bigger percentage of their income for that tax than the rich," he said.
If the sales-tax initiative passes, Pedersen would deal with the shortfall by "cutting social programs that we don't need." He said social programs constitute 40 percent of the state budget.
He would advise UTA to compensate for its revenue loss by raising fares.
He sees no need to compensate for losses to the Olympic fund. "I am quite opposed to the state funding for the Olympics. That should be handled by local business, not by the state government. As soon as government gets involved, it becomes ineffective."
Any revenue surpluses this year should go back to the people, he said. "It was gotten by overtaxing people. I would make sure it went back to the people."
He supports abortion only when the mother's life is endangered by the pregnancy, and he would certainly vote to ratify an amendment to the Constitution forbidding desecration of the American flag.
Pedersen is national chairman of the American Party. He received a Silver Beaver award in scouting last year and serves as vice chairman of Scouting over the largest Scouting district in the United States.
District 45 includes the Welby area of South Jordan; the south part of West Jordan, south of 7800 South between 3600 West and the Jordan River; and a section of West Jordan north to approximately 7000 South between 2200 West and the Jordan River.
When Rep. Kelly Atkinson, D-West Jordan, was elected four years ago to the House, he represented one of many young Democrats who won seats in traditionally Republican districts in 1986.
Now Atkinson is seeking re-election to a third term, and he is facing what he admits is his strongest challenge yet, from Republican Bruce LaMar Wasden. Also running is American Party candidate David Wilson.
- Kelly Atkinson opposes the initiative calling for removal of the sales tax on food, calling it flawed and misdirected. "It doesn't answer the question of how do we fund local governments," he said.
"It devastates local governments. And the only alternative is to slash services or to increase property or franchise taxes. I don't think either of those alternatives are good ones."
If voters should approve the initiative, Atkinson said, the the state would have to reduce services and perhaps draw from the rainy-day fund to keep vital programs in place.
"There are not that many non-essential programs out there," he said. "There are not $90 million in cuts that can be made."
The major problem facing the state, Atkinson said, "is continued funding of education. Nothing is as important as education of our children. . . . Whatever it takes to get more money into the classrooms we ought to do. If we have to say to ourselves there are programs we can't offer, then we won't offer that service so that more money goes into the classrooms."
Atkinson supports abortion only in cases where the life of the mother is threatened, and in cases of incest or rape.
Atkinson, 39, is executive director of the Utah School Employees Association and is involved in the University of Utah's Children's Dance Theater. He has served on the West Jordan Planning Commission, Master Plan Committee and the Good Neighbor Council.
- Bruce LaMar Wasden, 61, also opposes the removal of the sales tax on food, saying the issue needs more serious study. But if voters approve the measure it should be phased in over a period of time, coupled with proportionate reductions in all areas of government.
Local governments could cope with shortfalls by increasing the voted leeway, he said.
If state government should have a multimillion-dollar surplus, Wasden said, the money should go toward repairing and expanding roads and highways, added education funding, classroom supplies and reducing classroom sizes.
The major problem facing state government, Wasden says, is "the inefficiency of departments operated by political appointees, the poor financial management with tax shortfalls and large tax surpluses."
Wasden says abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother is endangered.
Wasden is a retired school principal. His previous political experience includes Republican district chairman, vice chairman, and delegate to state and county conventions.
- American Party candidate David Wilson did not return the Deseret News questionnaire, nor did he return Deseret News phone calls.
District 46 generally cover northwest West Jordan - north of 7800 South and west of 2200 West - and west Kearns - west of 5600 West and south of 4100 South.
Republican incumbent Michael Waddoups faces Democrat Paul Hiskey for the District 47 Legislative seat.
Waddoups, 42, has served four years in the Legislature, acting as Transportation Committee chairman and a member of the Economic Development, Education and Health committees.
Hiskey, 38, has been politically active since 1968, working with several public officials.
Both candidates oppose the removal of sales tax from food.
Hiskey says, however, the issue could be better resolved by allowing "a tax credit on our individual tax forms for sales tax paid on food items. This way, the effect would not be felt by our cities and the UTA, etc.," he said.
Waddoups believes that if the tax is removed, it "would have the most severe impact on education, human services and corrections - which are areas that need our support right now."
Ask either candidate how he would spend what appears to be a multimillion-dollar surplus in tax funds for fiscal 1989-90, and he'll tell you education needs a shot in the arm.
"Bolster the education system through better funding or books, supplies and technology," Waddoups said. He said one-time money could be used for the boost.
"(The surplus) could be used to reduce class size in our schools," Hiskey said.
Hiskey says the surplus also could be used to establish a health-care cost containment fund for senior citizens.
The major problem facing state government, according to Waddoups, is an uncertain future. "We need vision and aggressive promotion of our state and the well-trained, honest work force," he said.
Hiskey believes the major problems facing state government are education and health care. "I feel education will help to resolve many of the other issues facing us. We should also be concerned about health care, not only for those who do not have it but for all of us in achieving lower cost for services," he said.
Hiskey is a car foreman for Union Pacific Railroad and has worked with the Boy Scouts of America.
Waddoups is a certified property manager and is interested in sports and transportation innovations.
District 47 covers most of Taylorsville-Bennion and a small section of West Valley City. It is bounded by 4700 South on the north, the Jordan River on the east and 6200 South on the south. The western boundary is 3200 West north of 5400 South and 4000 West south of 5400 South.
Arlo D. James, 59, Kearns, a Democrat and a 10-year member of the Utah House of Representatives faces Republican Royce Gibson, 36, Kearns, for the District 48 Legislative seat.
James and Gibson agree that the sales tax on food should be removed.
"Food is a human necessity to sustain life, and it should not be taxed. It is a regressive tax for the poor," James said.
Gibson said that if voters decide to remove the tax he would deal with anticipated revenue loss by phasing the removal over a four-year period.
"I would not adjust other taxes or reduce programs as long as economic growth replaced the sales-tax (revenue) reduction," he said.
Gibson said the major problem facing state government is providing quality education for the state's children. To solve the problem, Gibson would "take advantage of innovative programs to improve the efficiency of the education system."
Meanwhile, James says the major problem facing state government is unequal taxation. He says all residents should be taxed equally, "not just small groups paying all the costs."
James is a retired Kennecott Copper Corp. foreman and has served as the Kearns Town Council chairman, United Way president and on the House Ethics Committee and 1990 Transportation Task Force. He also has been a Lions Club president and a school adviser at South Kearns Elementary.
Gibson works in financial and retirement planning and has served four years as an elected trustee for the Kearns Improvement District. He was secretary-treasurer of the Utah Association of Special Districts and a liaison between the Kearns Improvement District and the Kearns Town Council.
District 48 includes most of Kearns. It is bounded by 4000 West on the east, 4700 South on the north and 5600 West on the west. The southern boundary is 5400 South west of approximately 4800 West and 6200 South east of 4800 West.