• Loser: State lawmakers passed a bill this week that removes a planned $10 increase to the $120 they receive per day. Even the sponsor agrees this is a symbolic move. Giving themselves a raise would seem wrong during tough economic times.
But for many lawmakers, the perks of the job, ranging from gifts lobbyists give them to laws that allow them to use campaign funds for personal reasons, speak much louder in a symbolic sense. The truth is state lawmakers deserve more official compensation for their hard work and sacrifice. While it may not be possible to give them a raise during tough economic times, we'd like to see the day when lawmakers make a lot more per day than they do now, with the trade-off being a ban on all gifts and strict rules on the use of campaign funds.
• Winner: Brandt Andersen's plans for a new downtown Lehi are ambitious and impressive. He has enlisted famed architect Frank Gehry to design buildings, including one that would be Utah's tallest, in ways that reflect the state's natural beauties.
And the best part is that Andersen, who owns the Utah Flash, the Jazz's D-league affiliate, is using his own money. So far, no one has asked taxpayers for help. With the economy on the rocks, it will be interesting to see how the plans develop. We wish him well.
• Loser: Logic dictates that payday lenders would be forced to lower their astronomical interest rates if they had to become more competitive. Forcing them to be at least one-half mile from each other would do just the opposite, and yet that is what a proposed Salt Lake City ordinance would do.
The city may also want to consider what other options are available to many low-income people who need cash, especially at a time when credit is tightening everywhere. Certainly, fiscal responsibility is of overriding importance. Few people actually like payday lenders or their practices. But with banks unlikely to lend to high-risk people, a competitive payday lending community would be better than one that is spread apart.