Tooele County - one of the largest counties geographically in the state - has only two House districts, one that has traditionally been held by Republicans and one traditionally held by Democrats.
Rep. Beverly White, D-Tooele, is running unopposed. Incumbent Rep. Lee Allen, R-Tremonton, faces a challenge from Democrat Thomas Munns, Garland, in a district that includes parts of Tooele and Box Elder counties.The Deseret News asked each candidate to explain his stands on some of the issues of concern to voters this year: the tax initiatives, economic development, bonding to build highways and other government projects, AIDS and budget cuts.
The three tax initiatives that will be on the general election ballot Nov. 8 call for limits on property tax rates and government growth; a rollback of cigarette, sales, income and gasoline tax increases passed by the 1987 Legislature; and a limited income tax credit for parents of children enrolled in private schools.
-Rep. R. Lee Allen, R-Tremonton, is not only an avid supporter of the tax initiatives, he also voted against the tax increases passed in 1987 by the Legislature.
"It may make things a bit more difficult for the liberals to find new ways to fund their programs," he said. "The message has been coming through loud and clear that taxes are high enough."
As far as the tax rollback initiative, Allen believes a conservative Legislature could accomplish the same process in a more orderly manner. "If the people want a rollback, I will abide by that decision. I feel there are places to cut in government."
Allen also supports the initiative calling for tax credits for parents of children in private schools, saying competition works well enough in the private sector and it will work in education.
If the tax initiatives should pass, Allen said, local school boards would be better equipped to deal with budget cuts. "They, of course, would cut the programs which would most affect the public, not the administrative costs. The voters may have to take a hard look at who they elect to school boards."
Allen hopes Utah's economy will grow and tax revenue increase without tax increases. He praised efforts that brought a new industry to Cedar City as an excellent example of people working toward economic development.
"We can attract new industry, but if we beat the hell out of them after they get here, the word soon gets to the other prospects," he said. "We need to level the playing field for all industry. At the present time, Geneva Steel is getting a $14 million tax advantage over Nucor Steel."
Allen, a real estate broker and farmer, has been in the House since 1983.
-While he personally opposes a property-tax limitation, Democrat Thomas F. Munns said he believes the people have the right to vote on the tax initiatives.
"But I think that local governing boards have a better idea of what the local needs are, and I oppose this one," he said.
Munns, of Garland, is challenging incumbent R. Lee Allen.
Munns also is opposed to tax rollbacks, saying, "Let's keep these taxes and fill some of the potholes."
The candidate would not specify where he would prefer budget cuts, should the initiatives pass.
What about future tax increases? "I'm sure there will come a time for a tax increase, but you'll have to talk long and hard to justify it to me," he said.
Munns is also a supporter of bonding to build dams, highways and government buildings, if it is done right. And he also supports a strong bonding program to aid new and expanding small businesses as a key to attracting new business and industry to Utah.
Considering increasing enrollments and decreasing budgets for higher education, "raise tuition," Munns said. "Let those who want a higher education pay for it."
The district takes in Box Elder County, except for the Brigham City-Willard area, and Tooele County, except Grantsville and most of Tooele City.
-Rep. Beverly White, D-Tooele, is unopposed in her re-election campaign.
She said she opposed all three initiatives, including the limit on property tax rates and government growth because "tax limitation binds our hands."
White said she is afraid of the consequences of rolling back tax increases passed by the 1987 Legislature. She said the Legislature should determine if decreases are in order.
Of giving parents of children in private schools a tax credit, White said she is not sure how issues such as providing transportation would be handled.
If the initiatives are approved, she said, she has no magic formula for cutting public education budgets. She said she believes higher education was "pretty well taken care of" in the last session of the Legislature.
A member of the Legislature since 1971, White said the decision of whether to raise taxes is one lawmakers face every session. "If we need the money, we raise taxes," she said. "If we don't, they should be lowered."
Bonding is a way to pay for the construction of dams, highways and government buildings, she said.
To attract new businesses to the state, White said, families need to be made to feel better about relocating here and welcomed once they arrive.
She said Utah should continue advertising and recruiting in other states. Education abilities also must be kept high, White said.
Health providers need to recommend some constitutional answers to the AIDS problem, she said, adding that although confidentiality must be observed when testing for the deadly disease, people need to be protected.
White is a businesswoman and worked under contract with the State Division of Adult Probation and Parole. She has served in the Legislature as majority assistant whip in 1975 and 1976 and as minority assistant whip in 1977 and 1978.
District 21 includes Tooele City, except west of Coleman Street; Grantsvillle; Stansbury; and Lake Point.