Gov. Norm Bangerter is not too excited about President Bush's proposal to shift $15 billion worth of federal programs to the states with full funding through block grants.

"I've seen a lot of these initiatives started and few finished," Bangerter told reporters while attending a convention of the National Governors Association.He added another reason he is not overly excited: "This proposal is not for more or less money for the programs, just the same."

Bush says switching the programs to the states - which was formally proposed in his budget sent to Congress Monday - would save money by reducing government overhead.

Bangerter agrees and likes the idea of the federal government giving funding for services to states through block grants - which have few or no strings attached.

He said the federal government now wastes far too much program money by forcing states to spend vast amounts of time and money to prove they comply with all federal regulations instead of using that energy and money to provide services.

In fact, Bangerter suggested that states should probably band together to either force the federal government to give all its funding through block grants, "or just let it keep its money and run its programs itself."

Bangerter also said he is wary of a continuing trend by the federal government to mandate more services by the states without paying for them. He said the continuing high deficits and unbalanced federal budgets "will continue to have a negative impact on states."

Bangerter said White House chief of staff John Sununu plans to submit to the governors programs that the administration would like to shift to the states.

Bangerter also had lunch with the president on Monday with other governors and discussed general provisions of the budget and the Persian Gulf war.


(Additional information)

Gov. Norm Bangerter won't travel far next winter to attend the annual meetings of the Republican Governors Association - they will be in Salt Lake City.

Bangerter announced that Monday while attending a convention of the National Governors Association.

"We gave some consideration to going to St. George, but we found there was more interest in having access to skiing than golf. I hope we have some snow then," Bangerter said.

The association has 20 Republican governors from the states, and three governors from U.S. territories. Bangerter said the governors will also bring many staff members with them for the meetings - and the skiing.