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Lawmakers should concentrate on environment, education, taxes and leave aside divisive culture wars issues.

Lawmakers should concentrate on environment, education, taxes and leave aside divisive culture wars issues.

The environment, education, and taxes should be the main focus of lawmakers. They should not be distracted by divisive culture wars.

(Rick Bowmer | AP photo)

During the Utah Legislature’s virtual session in Salt Lake City, Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 16:16, 2020, the Utah State Capitol is displayed.

The 2022 Utah Legislature regular session will begin Tuesday. Members of the Legislature may feel nagged by the sensation that they are, in Pogo’s words, possum-philosopher Pogo’s words. Faced with insurmountable challenges.

Some of those will provide opportunities to meddle in, pose and position on issues that are not relevant to them or anyone else. There are other issues, such as the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, which state officials have been focusing on for a long time. Their level of incompetenceYou should not be a burden to anyone.

There are issues that can’t be ignored, avoided, or pushed down the road. Some members of the legislative body have shown glimpses of understanding what they are, and what can be done to address them.

Because it is visible from space, the most obvious matter is before the state. It is not as clear as it was once.

House Speaker Brad Wilson is leading the growing awareness that the Great Salt Lake needs our help. It would be awkward to lose the shrinking body salt, which has given its name to the largest city, county and baseball team in the state, as well as the news organization. It would have a significant impact on more than just the extractive and native industries and species of the lake.

The westerly winds could expose the lake bed to toxic metals, brine shrimp and other waste. This would create a tsunami of pollution that would blow across the Wasatch Front into the skies and lungs of a community already plagued by bad air days, including a few times last summer. The worst in the world.

This situation also shows how all aspects of our natural and man-made environments are interconnected. The state’s wasteful use of its limited water supply is clearly responsible for shrinkage. Bad habits should not be made worse by building dams along the Bear River or any other measures that would reduce the flow of water.

Our air quality is not only threatened by the lake. Every aspect of our environment, from the increasing number of automobiles to the lack of up-to-date construction standards to the state’s obsession with fossil fuel industries, conspires against the very quality life that has attracted so much to this country.

It is too late to continue studying. It is time to take action. Water conservation over development. Regulations and active air quality monitoring. The most important thing is to recognize that not only are fossil fuels in decline, but that Utah is also a leader in sustainable energy technologies. This is good news for our lungs and our bank accounts.

The Legislature has shown that it is incapable of dealing with the pandemic. It is absurd to declare an end dateallowing it to have the power to stop people who are really good at what they do. However, legislators can be focused on cleaning up the mess and helping the culture that is most in need.

Coronavirus has ravaged our public education system, including traditional and charter schools, colleges, and K-12. Even though schools were not forced to close, students and individual classrooms were denied the education they needed to grow academically and emotionally.

A state that is as wealthy as ours in federal and state revenue should make strengthening schools its top priority. This will allow it to do many of the things that were necessary anyway. Smaller class sizes. Modern classrooms offer better ventilation. Every building has a nurse, counselor or other professional support personnel.

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This good fiscal situation has tempted many in Utah’s political class to call for a reduction to the state’s already regressive income taxes rate. This is the wrong tool for this job. While tax cuts can make sense in slow economies, they are not the best for Utah. Utah is booming, and its growing pains (as noted above) include water shortages and bad air quality. There will also be slammed schools. Each of these problems will require money.

If lawmakers are really determined to claim themselves tax-cutters they should consider removing the sales tax on groceries and adding a earned income tax credit to low-income families. Both would help those who are most in need.

Legislative leaders must be clear that they are not going to waste their time on wrangling over issues that generate more heat than light. No symbolic or harmful message bills or resolutions that attack critical race theory, censor library books, attack transgender Utahns, or attempt to seize federal land or limit the chance to vote.

We urge the Legislature not to take advantage Utah’s strong financial position and not to make long-term investments in Utah.

Utah’s Legislature is not known for being responsive to the people. Too much of the decision-making happens behind closed doors. It has established an online presence that anyone can use to access the bills, listen to committee hearings, view debates on the Senate and House floor, and send their thoughts.

The first step to all of this is le.utah.gov.

These legislators work for you. Keep an eye out for them. Tell them what your thoughts are.

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