To the editor:
As a Democrat, I've become very disappointed with the judgment of Chairman Randy Horiuchi. His attempt at removing the sales tax on food is a commendable goal, a goal which I share. But the idea of doing it through an initiative is a bad idea that goes against all that the party has stood for. To cut taxes without suggesting either specific cuts in state spending or an alternative form of revenue is irresponsible.Horiuchi seems to justify this strategy on the basis that the tax protest movement was a populist movement that included a considerable number of Democrats. This doesn't, however, deal with whether the policy is good or bad, just whether it will get more votes. I doubt Horiuchi really believes this initiative is a good policy, but rather probably feels that it will help the party politically.
In the state of Utah, Democrats have a tradition of rational leadership, carefully weighing the trade-offs between education (and other government services) and tax burden before deciding on a political strategy.
Though a revitalized and more viable Democratic Party will provide greater accountability of the current Republican majority, this is of secondary importance to seeing that Utah has good policies.
Democrats should use political strategy to achieve rational government, not the advocation of irrational policies to achieve political ends.
The tax protesters have a right to make their claims, but the majority of Democrats don't agree with their positions. Misleading them by telling them we support such an initiative to get their votes will backfire in the end.
I welcome all the tax protesters to join the political dialogue that should be going on in the Democratic Party. But I cannot favor the party chairman using his position to advocate a policy that not only doesn't reflect the opinions of most Democrats, but also doesn't serve the public interest.
David L. Swan
Salt Lake City