Natalie Gochnour: Don't rely on Utah's 'best run state' accolades

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  • PaulS Highland, UT
    April 10, 2014 12:08 p.m.

    Another way to view this point is to say that whether Utah is "the" best managed state or "among" the best, some of us just wish it were a better compliment, because the standards are so low. I grew up in Washington State and when something was not done well but probably wouldn't fall apart real soon, it was said to be "good enough for government work". I understand that when that expression first appeared, it was meant to suggest good quality. Now, we are pleased when government only botches things up a little. I agree with Natalie that the better approach is to focus on leadership, which ought to be a non-partisan ideal.

  • PG Business Owner PG, UT
    June 11, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    The brilliance of the op ed piece is not in the arguments it makes but in that she makes the arguments at all. Seriously, rather than overtly challenge the policy issues with which she disagrees - she makes it about "leadership", suggesting that if the current leaders do not agree with her agenda to raise taxes and spend more on education, then they must be failed leaders. This resonates much better than to declare that we should tax and spend more. And, the "leadership" argument (nebulous as it may be)juxtaposes well and can be used to deflect the "best managed" argument that Gov. Herbert will surely use. Natalie has no doubt launched her own bid to run for governor and this example of campaign rhetoric is her first salvo. If I were sitting around a Salt Lake office thinking of how I would try to take down the sitting governor, I would not challenge his policies (good and popular policies), nor his character, but I would create a vague smear on his "leadership". That surely got her more press than a direct assault on policy might have garnered. From a political campaign perspective I say "Good job Natalie!"

  • PG Business Owner PG, UT
    June 11, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    Sounds like Natalie will be announcing her campaign to be governor herself sometime soon. Stay tuned.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    June 8, 2013 11:05 p.m.

    Sorry 2 bits, but citing right-wing talk radio paranoia to answer my question doesn't cut it.

    Regarding defending your family:
    "Anti-2nd_Amendment Politicians in DC" Who? Antonin Scalia? Nobody is wanting to take your guns.
    "Feds making weapons that I could use for self-defense illegal" You don't need nukes and bazookas. Some regulation is reasonable.
    "National laws like gun owner lists that could be abused by future administrations" Paranoia.
    Bottom line" Nobody is stopping you (or wants to stop you) from defending your family.

    Regarding preventing you from worshiping God:
    "National ban on prayer in school" - This does not prevent you from worshiping God. Why should my kid have to worship your god or your kid have to worship mine?
    "Fed Mandate that all employers must provide birth_control, etc. (even if it's against their religion)" Employers are providing insurance, not abortions. Should Christian Scientists not have to any medical insurance?
    "National mandates on what MUST be taught in school (like Common Core)... and what can't be taught (anything from Bible)" It is ridiculous to suggest that federal standards meant to improve our sagging education quality infringe on your religious rights.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 8, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    The second part of your question...

    Things that can prevent me from protecting my family:
    - Anti-2nd_Amendment Politicians in DC
    - Feds making weapons that I could use for self-defense illegal
    - National laws like gun owner lists that could be abused by future administrations

    Federal regulations impacting free worship:
    - National ban on prayer in school
    - Fed Mandate that all employers must provide birth_control, etc. (even if it's against their religion)
    - National mandates on what MUST be taught in school (like Common Core)... and what can't be taught (anything from Bible)

    Note: I think States should not mandate any of the above... I think they should stay out of it (IF the LOCAL voting public wants them to stay out of it). And I'd like a few states where you can live that way... but because of FEDERAL mandates... you can't in ANY State. Even if the local population wants to do something different than the FEDERAL Gov.

    You could vote to get politicians, laws, taxes, etc, you want in your state. And I could move to a State that votes to have more freedom (IF we didn't have Federal mandates on everything).

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 8, 2013 7:44 p.m.

    The Taxman,
    I didn't say any State should dictate anything (conservative or progressive). I wanted more local control and autonomy, which could possibly lead to more choice.

    This would allow freedom for people who wanted to live in a Progressive State with massive debt, un-funded retirement promises for public employees, and lots and lots of welfare programs and lots of taxes... can move to one of those states. And people who want to be able to pray (maybe even in their schools if they want) and not live under big taxes and big debts... can choose to live in a state managed that way. I just think local government would allow local values to be expressed at the ballot box (conservative or progressive). But instead these days.... it seems all these things must be mandated at the Federal_level (where you have so very little say, and so there's nowhere you can go to avoid it).

    Then people would have a choice. Move to Utah for low taxes and maybe risk not having all the social programs, or move to Detroit with tons of welfare programs, taxes, etc. But at least you have a choice.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    June 8, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    @2 bits

    What you said makes sense until you went off on the Conservatives/Progressives rant. Just as a "less perfect" federal government should not be able to dictate certain things to more perfect states, why should a last perfect state be able to dictate to my more perfect family.
    So who exactly is preventing you from worshiping God or defending your family?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 8, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    I think you've finally hit on a truth that the big government fans don't get. The smaller the group... the better it can be managed. Your family is probably better managed than your neighborhood, and the neighborhood better managed than the State, and the State better managed than the Nation.

    That's why I like governance at the most LOCAL level possible (like the founding fathers advocated). Some things MUST be done Nationally. That's what the Federal Government is for. But everything else should be left to the States.

    Congress keeps legislating more of what SHOULD be common sense, and some things that could be left to a vote of the people in each state. All states don't need to have the same laws. Diversity is "Good".

    It would be nice to have a few states where Conservatives can live according to their beliefs and not constantly under attack by Progressives who don't like them worshiping god, or defend their own families instead of waiting for the government to respond, drink soda if they want, etc. But no... it must be controlled on a national level (a government any Utahn has VERY little say in).

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    June 7, 2013 8:12 p.m.

    My family has been managed much better than the State of Utah. My family has 100% employment, a 100% college graduation rate, and very little debt. While my kids were growing up, I provided great healthcare, defense, etc.

    My point here, of course is these polls including tiny little states like Utah along with mammoth states like California are a joke. In population, California is bigger compared to the USA than Utah is to California. Managing a group of people becomes exponentially more difficult as the group grows and becomes more diverse.

    "You may not like Utah, but more and more businesses are moving their operations here."

    Please Redshirt, name for us one single major U.S. business (say, like a Google or an Apple) that is headquartered in Utah.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 7, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    To "Baron Scarpia" actually, Utah has good year-round air quality. The state that has the worst air quality is California. Yes, utah has some short term air quality issues, but that is not as significant as the places like LA that have bad air year round.

    Acutally, Utah doesn't have any problems attracting businesses. According to "With Utah's 'house in order,' Salt Lake is the 9th best economy" we have the 9th best economy, which means despite the Feds, Utah's economy is growing.

    You may not like Utah, but more and more businesses are moving their operations here.

  • Ajax Mapleton, UT
    June 7, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    What a great article. The response of 2 bits puzzles me.

    As someone who feels that life is purposeful, I wonder of the motivation of those whose preference lies in the past and preserving the status quo over a more forward looking and open approach seeking improvement, growth and progress. Do you perhaps feel that the risks outweigh the rewards?

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    Utahs greatest asset, by far, is their dedicated, hard working workforce.

    Sure, companies like to relocate here for the great outdoors, and the fiscal restraint engaged in by the government, but, at the end of the day........they like the dedicated hard workers.

    Thats why its especially discouraging to see businesses hire illegal trespassers in order to constantly have wages depressed.

    These businesses SHOULD be ashamed of themselves, but, sadly, they have no shame!

  • jotab Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    Some of the leaders mentioned in this well written piece have made tough decisions when necessary, like Bangerter raising taxes. It seems right now the extreme wing of the GOP is driving most of the decisions of the state to the detriment of the state.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 7, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    A quote from the article "Leadership is about producing useful change"...

    Spoken like a true Progressive.

    Sometimes "leadership" is more about staying the course, protecting, and guiding, and less about "producing useful change", or "Never let a good crisis go to waste", and the rest of the Progressive mantras.

    Utah is by all accounts a "Conservative" state. And I think that has some causal relation to our being ranked the "best managed" state (or one of the better managed states if you don't totally trust the #1 ranking).

    I look at states with notoriously Progressive leadership...California, Illinois, Detroit, NY, etc, and I can't help contrasting their progressive politics that follow your progressive mantra... with ours (with Constitutional Balanced-Budget requirement, line_item veto, AAA_Bond_Rating, etc).

    I think these States governed by Progressives AND the Feds could learn something from Utah. They could benefit from a Constitutional Balanced_Budget amendment, Line_item veto, AAA Bond Rating, etc.

    But I totally agree that we can't rest because of this rating. It just means we are on the right track. We need to STAY on the right track. And yes... we probably need to spend more on education.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 7, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    The leaders identified in this op-ed are certainly good folks. But they seem at times to be anomalies among too many of the others. One thing that is badly needed is Utah is tough standards of ethics -- coupled with tough enforcement.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    June 7, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    Don't we have some of the worst air quality in the country, making it harder to attract business and industry? Don't we have the lowest per-capita spending on education, making it harder to attract business and industry? Aren't we way behind other nearby states on the development of clean, price-stable renewable energy resources? There's plenty for Utah to do to become better to attract the best and brightest to our state.

  • Clarifying Facts Lehi, UT
    June 7, 2013 7:26 a.m.

    Great op-ed. Let's not justify the things we're doing wrong by repeating that we're "the best managed state." Instead, let's appreciate what's being done right, while working vigorously to improve and do better where we need improvement!