Two of the highest-profile legislative races in east-side suburbs include Utah State University professor emeritus D. Wayne Rose challenging Rep. Janet Rose, and former state Rep. Sam Taylor trying to reclaim his seat representing a South Salt Lake area.
Also, Rep. Max W. Young, D-Murray, faces a challenge from former Murray School Board member George I. Brown.There are nine House of Representatives seats in the Murray, Holladay, Millcreek and South Salt Lake areas of Salt Lake County.
No one can ever accuse Sam Taylor of giving up. After 16 years in the Legislature, Taylor was unseated four years ago by a fellow Democrat.
After an unsuccessful bid to reclaim the seat two years ago, Taylor is back again, this time as an Independent Party candidate. This year he faces Democrat Ronald Greensides and Libertarian Elizabeth Lawley in the general election.
The incumbent in House District 29, Rep. Jay Fawson, D-Salt Lake, is retiring.
Ronald Greensides, a vice president of Sugar House Van Lines, has been active in South Salt Lake government, serving two terms on the Planning and Zoning Commission and two terms on the Board of Adjustments.
Greensides is in favor of removing the sales tax from food, but he believes the problem is much deeper-rooted than sales tax on food. He would like to see income taxes restructured to be more "realistic."
"My personal feeling is I support removing the sales tax on food, but it should not be removed immediately, but wait until the income tax structure can be reassessed," he said. A reassessment of the income tax structure could compensate for any lost revenue to state government because of removing the sales tax from food.
As for the impact to local government, Greensides again says there needs to be a period of time - perhaps five to 10 years - to evaluate the entire tax structure of the state and local governments. Too many times, problems are addressed by mandate instead of long-range planning, he said.
Greensides said he has spent a lot of time walking the district and that the biggest issue facing Utah government in the minds of voters is wasteful government spending. He recommends the governor establish a committee to investigate and make recommendations on specific complaints of waste in government.
Of abortion, Greensides said it should be allowed only in cases where the life of the mother is endangered. "But there's been a lot of controversy on that question," he said. "The abortion task force is looking at three different plans, and I would like to see their recommendations go before the voters. Let them decide."
Greensides, 49, is also vice president of the Utah Movers and Warehouseman's Association and on the board of directors of the Utah Motor Transport Association.
Sam Taylor, who served in the House for 16 years as a Democrat, is an Independent Party candidate firmly in favor of removing the sales tax from food.
"Why don't these groups opposing the removal openly support alternatives to prison sentencings, such as home confinement, which will save millions annually? Let them speak out against the light-rail boondoggle," he said. "They have no right to tax food."
If the initiative to remove the sales tax from food should pass, Taylor said, he would be opposed to raising the property tax to compensate for revenue shortfalls. Rather, state and local governments would have to look at alternative methods of funding.
"As for the UTA, they have already wasted over $446 million in tax monies since 1975. As for the Winter Olympics funding, let it be done as with Atlanta and Los Angeles: with private funding," he said.
If state predictions hold true and there should be a budget surplus, Taylor supports returning it to Utah taxpayers. "It's time to stop thinking that tax monies not spent belongs to the bureaucracies," he said.
In the past, Taylor said, he has voted to allow abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is threatened. But he said he would wait for the recommendations of a state task force before making any new decisions to make Utah abortion laws more restrictive.
The greatest problem facing state government, he said, is that state, federal and local governments are ruled by bureaucracies that use public funds to lobby for their causes. "Any public funds used to support one side must also contain opposing views," he said.
While in the Legislature, Taylor was an active proponent of "home confinement" for low-risk criminal offenders and summer job programs for teenagers. He also is one of the Utah Transit Authority's most outspoken critics.
Libertarian candidate Elizabeth Lawley did not return the Deseret News questionnaire, nor did she return phone calls.
District 29 includes South Salt Lake west of 500 East, Granite Park and the northwest corner of Murray. The district generally is bounded by 2100 South on the north, 700 East on the east, the Jordan River on the west and 3900 South on the south. Between State Street and the Jordan River, it extends as far south as 4800 South.
Incumbent Democrat Gene Davis, who is seeking another term, wants to see sales tax removed from food. "It takes food out of the mouths of people," he said.
Removal would force the state to "take a complete look at our tax structure."
Glen S. Cahoon, 61, a retired Salt Lake City Police captain, opposes removal of the sales tax on food. The Republican challenger said it "is a good head tax, and if we had to take the money from somewhere else, it probably wouldn't be fair." If the tax is removed, there should be "across-the-board budget cuts in each department after the surplus revenue is applied to the shortfall."
Independent Party challenger Monte Draper, 77, is a sales representative who favors removal of the sales tax on food. "There are already too many taxes," he said.
Draper believes that the lost revenue could be made up by the state's surplus revenues. He's not worried about a shortfall for UTA or Winter Olympic funding. "Don't want UTA. Don't want Olympics," he said.
A surplus should be used to generate more money by enticing new industry into the area to broaden the tax base and provide jobs, Cahoon said.
Davis, 45, who is self-employed in advertising and public relations, said any surplus first should be used to reduce classroom size in public schools. General fund surplus should be used to meet human service and environmental funding needs.
States should be able to decide when or if abortion is legal, according to Draper. He would oppose a constitutional amendment to protect the flag. "It's the problem of the burner."
Cahoon said abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother and in certain cases of rape and incest.
Davis said: "I believe the laws in the state of Utah are currently the strongest in the nation, and I don't really believe there's a need for change. If there is a bill, I would want to make sure the health, safety and welfare of the woman is addressed."
Cahoon supports a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Davis believes Congress already dealt with the issue and doubts it will be back, but he opposes desecrating the flag.
They have different views on what is the state's biggest problem. Cahoon believes it is crime and narcotics. "As a police officer, I saw laws enacted which actually handcuffed law enforcement. We need good laws that will help the police officer on the street and put the fear in the criminal and not the citizen."
The biggest problem facing Utah is too much government, Draper said. "Cut all the bureaus who compete with the private sector."
"Overtaxation is really the culprit to both the private sector and their employees," Draper said. "Coupled with overtaxation by the state of Utah is bad spending, such as money going to the ski industry, light rail, unproductive bus lines, Heber Creeper, lake pumping . . . on and on goes the insidious spending of our tax dollars that could be used by the same taxpayers who provide. Taxing business is unproductive because it is double taxation. People pay taxes who are employed by business."
Davis said one of the major problems is funding for public and higher education, getting the classroom size down and "ensuring that quality teachers and professors are attracted to our institutions."
District 30 is an L-shaped area, from 1300 South to 3300 South between 500 East and 1300 East, plus a section generally between 2700 South and 3000 South from 1300 East to 2000 East.
Incumbent Republican Jerrold Jensen is unopposed in his bid for re-election.
The 44-year-old attorney said he opposes removal of the food tax because a "$100 million revenue reduction for the state would have an adverse impact on education in particular and other services in general. I would not oppose a food-tax credit but believe we would have to make up the shortfall in some other area."
If voters decide to remove the tax, Jensen said, public hearings should be held to decide which state programs to cut. "Local governments would have to share in the percentage reduction, the Utah Transit Authority's budget should be scrutinized to see if reductions can be made there, and I would leave the Olympic funding untouched."
He would favor using a surplus for education, then social services, roads and bridges, water resource development and tax reduction, in that order.
District 31 is bounded generally by 2100 South on the north, 3300 South on the south, 1300 East on the west and I-215 on the east - except for a section between 2700 South and 3000 South east to 2000 East that is in District 30.
Rep. Janet Rose, D-Salt Lake, and her opponent, Republican D. Wayne Rose, a professor emeritus at the Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service, differ on what they believe is the state's most pressing challenge.
"I think the biggest problem facing state government is a crisis in leadership," Janet Rose said, adding that she was referring to state government, not the Legislature.
"We need to revitalize our economy so we can do what needs to be done in state government instead of constantly cutting and creating more problems," she said.
D. Wayne Rose, who is not related to Janet Rose, said "adequate funding for our public schools and higher education" is at the top of his list of concerns about state government.
He said the problem should be solved "through encouraging school reform resulting in accountability and greater efficiency."
Janet Rose said she is concerned that if voters pass the initiative that would take the sales tax off food, local governments would raise property taxes to make up for the loss in revenue.
"That's far more devastating to people on a fixed income," she said. "The people who are going to be voting for removing the sales tax from food are the people least able to make it up somewhere else."
D. Wayne Rose also expressed concern about the initiative. "If this tax is removed, the effects on higher education and needed social services would be devastating."
He agreed that if the initiative passes, "local governments would almost be forced to raise property taxes."
Janet Rose said that while she is opposed to abortion, she does not know at this time how she would vote on the issue. "I don't feel qualified to answer. I don't have all the facts and all the information," she said.
Her opponent said he opposes allowing abortions "except in cases of rape, incest and health of the mother." D. Wayne Rose also expressed doubts on the issue, saying he is not sure what he would do in cases of "fetal malformity."
Janet Rose said the state should spend the surplus that accumulated during the budget year that ended July 1 on restoring past reductions to Medicaid and other programs.
D. Wayne Rose said: "There is only a paper surplus. Higher education needs help to meet the burgeoning student body. The starving need Social Services to be brought to parity."
District 32 includes an area from 4500 South to 3300 South between State Street and 1300 East. Between 3300 South and 3900 South, the district extends east to about 1700 East.
Libertarian candidate Brian E. Swim spars with Republican Phil H. Uipi for the seat. Democrat Tom Kearin dropped out of the race.
Swim, a 43-year-old father of five daughters, is vice president of Allgrunn-Swim Insurance Agency. Uipi, 41, is the father of four. He calls himself the "only Tongan attorney in the state of Utah." He also is a real estate broker.
Uipi believes the major problem facing state government is "the education of our children." He's calling for the revitalization of Utah's education system, possible consolidation of school districts and the elimination of the state Office of Education. He wants more money for children and teachers and less for "lower priority programs."
Swim, on the other hand, is convinced that Utah's "education establishment could use a healthy dose of competition and free enterprise." He says government has gone beyond protecting rights. "It now involves itself in forcible charity, economic development, investment and other areas better served by the free market."
These are the candidates' positions on other issues:
- Removal of sales tax from foods.
Swim supports the removal of the tax.
Uipi says he welcomes any tax cut. "However, if the removal will have a negative impact on our vital and necessary services and education, I am against it."
- Best use of multimillion-dollar surplus.
"I believe that our children are our best natural resources, therefore a portion of the surplus should be appropriated for textbooks and to upgrade our school system," Uipi said. Secondly, it should be given to improve economic development "thereby increasing our state tax base, which would result in less tax and improve our state economic state."
Swim wants the surplus used for "tax cuts."
- Under what circumstances do you favor allowing legal abortions?
Swim: "Life of the mother, rape, incest."
Uipi said that where the mother's life is in danger, legal abortion is necessary. "I am very supportive of women's rights; however, I believe that mother's certain rights ends and the fetus's right begins at some point. It is the public's responsibility to protect the right of the helpless fetus."
- Both candidates said they would not vote to ratify a constitutional amendment banning desecration or burning of the American flag if such an amendment passed Congress.
The incumbent, Rep. Ronald J. Ockey, R-Salt Lake, is leaving the House to seek a seat in the state Senate.
District 33 includes the Millcreek area between 3300 South and 3900 South east of 1700 East, Olympus Cove; and other areas east of I-215.
Democrat Susan Way and Republican Raymond W. Short have different opinions of what is the most pressing issue facing the state.
Short, a partner in a masonry contracting business, cites "very little checking of expenditures of funds appropriated by the Legislature" as the most critical issue.
Way, a University of Utah graduate student, says the top issue is "how to adequately fund education, which has seen extreme cutbacks in many programs and an increase in class size."
Short is the incumbent. When Larry Lunt resigned in June, Short was appointed by the governor to finish Lunt's unexpired term.
Way is no newcomer to the political process. She's spent six years on the Women's State Legislative Council and has worked on the campaigns of state Sen. Francis Farley and U.S. Congressman Wayne Owens.
The candidates' views differ on many issues.
Short, for example, agrees philosophically with the removal of sales tax on food but isn't sure what ramifications would follow.
Way doesn't think it's a major issue. "I have been working my district since July 28, and the major issue is education," she said. "We need to improve the quality of our education."
If voters decide to remove the tax, how would the two candidates deal with the anticipated revenue shortfall for state government?
Way wants a luxury tax on such items as furs, expensive jewelry, soda pop and "items that contribute to our solid waste problem - such as plastic and Styrofoam containers, disposable diapers, tires, gasoline, cigarettes."
Short says that if the sales tax goes "all programs would have to be reviewed."
What's the best use for the state's multimillion-dollar surplus? Way says it should be used for "our deteriorating education system and to provide funds for human services." Short wants it put into an education "rainy day" fund.
If the U.S. Supreme Court allows states more leeway in controlling abortion, Short would favor allowing legal abortions if a mother's life is in danger, or in the cases of rape, incest and "if knowledge shows the baby would not live after birth."
Way says she doesn't believe in government interference "in our private lives." She believes the current state law is adequate; it should not be more liberal or more strict. "We should be emphasizing responsible parenting and responsible sex through better education programs, such as the ones at Judge Memorial High," she stated.
District 34 includes the south Millcreek and north Holladay area: bounded generally by 3900 South on the north, 5000 South on the south and I-215 on the east. Its western boundary is 1300 East north of 4500 South and Holladay Boulevard south of 4500 South.
The incumbent, Republican Reese Hunter, is a doctor of optometry who first served in the Legislature in 1967 and 1968. Steven Ray Montgomery, a 37-year-old teacher, is the American Party candidate. Democratic candidate Steve M. Varanakis, 27, is a manager-supervisor at United Administrators, a local insurance third-party administration company.
Varanakis, who's had two years of experience in the Salt Lake County treasurer's office, did not return the Deseret News survey, outlining his stands on important issues affecting taxpayers.
Hunter and Montgomery have different views on such issues as:
- Removal of sales tax on food.
Montgomery supports it. "It's time taxpayers were given a break," he said.
Hunter believes it's an issue the electorate will decide at the polls and isn't currently a legislative issue. "It will become a legislative issue if the people decide to eliminate the sales tax on food."
- If voters remove the tax, how should legislators deal with anticipated revenue shortfall for state government?
Hunter says: "Part of the surplus the state is receiving could be used to offset the loss in revenue to the state. I have had estimates of a surplus building up from $50 million to $130 million. The biggest problem that I see is the loss of revenue to local governments."
He believes a possible solution to that problem might be "to allow the local governments the option, with voter approval, to pass a small local sales tax increase for the amount of the shortfall only."
Montgomery, on the other hand, says the proper role of government is "to protect the lives, liberty and properties of its citizens." He would phase out or eliminate government programs not meeting these criteria.
- Abortion. Both candidates favor allowing legal abortions if the life of the mother is endangered. Montgomery says it also should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.
- Biggest problem facing government.
Montgomery says it's "too much government and entrenched bureaucrats. The concentration and centralization of power has always been a threat to liberty." His solution: "The voting booth, citizen education."
Utahns, according to Hunter, need to be careful about increasing the size of government. "Every session of the Legislature tends to create more bureaus, expand present ones, etc.," he said. "The cost of government is increasing at an alarming rate. We have got to make some philosophical decisions in deciding what the limitations and proper role of government are - where should government begin and end."
District 35 includes central Murray, between 4800 South and 5300 South, and a section of the Holladay-Cottonwood area, between 900 East and Holladay Boulevard from 4500 South to Big Cottonwood Creek.
Both candidates oppose the removal of sales tax on food, but they have differing opinions on several other major issues that might be facing lawmakers.
For example, incumbent Max W. Young, a Democrat, says the major problem facing state government is education funding.
On the other hand, George I. Brown, a Republican, says the major problem in state government is to find ways to bolster economic development and to protect the Utah environment. "Incentives for `clean' industries and businesses that will bring continued growth in employment opportunities and tax revenues must be identified and implemented," he said.
Young, 61, a retired businessman, says he would not vote to ratify a constitutional amendment banning desecration or burning of the American flag.
Brown, 53, an employee of the Utah Office of Education, would vote to ratify such an amendment. "Flag burning is reprehensible. The flag is the symbol of a great nation and of the sacrifices of many to establish and protect the liberties and freedoms that have become a part of this country," he said.
When asked what would be the best use for the state's multimillion-dollar surplus, Young said, "Maintain a rainy day fund. Use at least $11.5 million to cover social (services) shortfall."
Brown said, "The present surplus is obviously a temporary phenomenon. It should be utilized to fund special, one-time and long-term projects which would require bonding if the surplus were not available. Additionally, it is appropriate to continue to examine revenue projections and to reduce taxes when it is in the best interest of the state and its citizenry."
On the issue of abortion, the candidates' views are similar.
Young said he would favor allowing legal abortions in circumstances of rape, incest and health of mother or child.
Brown said abortion is only appropriate in cases where the mother's life is in danger, or when rape or incest has resulted in a pregnancy.
District 36 includes south Murray, with a northern boundary running along 5300 South and Little Cottonwood Creek; north Union, north of 7200 South; and the Holladay-Cottonwood area south of 5600 South and west of 1300 East.
Republican incumbent David S. Ostler is unopposed after Democrat Michael B. Fletcher withdrew from the race.
Ostler, 59, had no political experience before beginning service in the House in 1987. He lists his occupation as real estate and real estate investments. He's also a consultant to and investor in small businesses.
He has taken strong stands on several issues:
He opposes the removal of sales tax from food. "Any reduction of revenue from sales/use tax would have to be made up by the cities and counties by an increase in property taxes, the only other revenue source available to the cities and counties. Many cities/towns would be impacted much more adversely than others."
Abortion: "I would favor having the state allow legal abortions only in cases where the pregnancy was caused by rape or by incest and in cases where chromosomal diagnosis shows the fetus to be seriously defective."
Major problem facing state government: " . . . w to meet the needs of the state, when education takes approximately 70 percent of the state budget, without increasing the tax burden to a level where it stifles the state's economy and reduces the total tax take."
Constitutional amendment banning desecration or burning of the American flag: "I would hope it would not require a constitutional amendment to correct this `idiocy' which has come into our society, but if that is the only way, I would be in favor."
District 37 comprises a section of the Holladay-Cottonwood area, generally from 1300 East to Wasatch Boulevard between 5000 South and 7000 South.