Our Thoughts on the Tooele County Commission’s Pay Raise

The Tooele County Commission voted Tuesday 2-1 to obscenely increase their annual pay from about $70,000 to almost $90,000, not including benefits. They insist that this is to make the pay equal to the work they do and provide parity with other elected County officers. They argue that this is necessary to “attract better candidates” for their jobs. Better candidates (and voters) would do well to remember that only a decade ago, the GOP-nominated commissioners lost their party’s re-nomination because they were seen as doing too little work for “full-time pay”—the same pay that these commissioners just increased to make “full-time.” Their GOP replacements campaigned on the promise of “full-time work for full-time pay.” (SL Tribune, Oct 30, 2006.) These same commissioners then went on to lead the county to the brink of bankruptcy, laying off hundreds of our neighbors, reducing services to the community, wasting hundreds of thousands of tax dollars, and reducing the number of elected officers in an apparent attempt to get rid of one that disagreed with their actions. Then, in order to bail the county out of its financial woes, they raised property taxes 66%, and levied even more taxes on the unincorporated areas such as Stansbury Park, Lake Point and Erda. To raise one’s wages in light of the past decade of financial mismanagement is fiscally irresponsible, to say nothing of fiscally conservative. Better candidates should also recognize that the requirements for the job of County Commissioner are significantly less than those for the Assessor, Attorney, or Sheriff, and comparing the Commissioner pay with those positions is folly. Better candidates will worry less...

Truth in Taxation

As most of us now know, we need to raise county property taxes, for the first time in 27 years. The fact that we haven’t raised property taxes in a generation is testament to the prosperity that our county has had for all this time, due almost solely to EnergySolutions and the Deseret Chemical Depot. Sadly, while this short-term money has been a boon to the county, it has also had a corrupting influence on our previous county commissioners, turning fiscal conservancy into fiscal irresponsibility. Now that those fees are going away, the residents of the county are being asked to finally pay our fair share for the services we need and enjoy. Frankly, we have no one to blame but ourselves, the Utah State Legislature, Texas, and Presidents Nixon and Reagan, all of whom claim to be fiscally conservative. So tonight, the county commission—three men who, as a matter of political ideology, prefer to spend money they don’t have and leave the raising of taxes to their political opponents—will commit political suicide as they break campaign promises, party platforms, and personal morality to do what’s right for the county and become fiscally responsible. This tax increase, which translates to roughly $6/month for the average home, is about meeting our minimum obligations to each other as a community. Other counties across the state, faced with their own revenue cuts, have raised their tax rates up to hundreds of percent in recent years. Perhaps the future will see an increase in industry or some other windfall for the county. If so, I would counsel future county leaders to learn from...

Happy Birthday Bev!

Beverly White, 85, has been a lifelong democrat and a Tooele resident since she was about 14 years old. She has provided years of service on both a state and county level. She is still active in the Tooele Democratic Party and has been a mentor to many of the candidates who have run in the recent elections. In 1970 she was asked by the governor to represent Tooele County for a year after Chilean Halladay died before his term was completed. She accepted and subsequently ran in her first election in 1971. She ended up being elected to the seat 10 times. During her time in office she is most proud of the work she did on legislation involving women and children including the Displaced Homemakers Act. This act helped women who had been working in the home get an education and prepare for the workplace. In 1984 she was hired to set up community service programs for the Adult Probation & Parole office where she worked until her retirement in 2005. During that time 289,124 hours of community service were completed. We have all been impacted by her life of...

State of Education

Much has been made this past week regarding the state of education in our state. Senator Aaron Osmond’s suggestion that making school attendance voluntary would somehow improve the system was swiftly and appropriately shot down by all sides of the political pie. Though I have written extensively on it, at this point, I think it best to let it die in peace. Of more interest is the recent Eagle-Forum sponsored and homeschooler-supported war being waged on the non-partisan, non-governmental Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that 45 states have signed on to and which will be implemented this year across all our state’s public schools. After reading the Eagle Forum’s mission statement and their arguments against the Common Core, I identify two honest complaints: 1)     I wasn’t consulted in the development of the CCSS. As the Common Core website states, nobody was. Instead, a select group of experts put the standards together. As stated, this was a non-partisan undertaking by people only tangentially related to government, with no relation at all to the federal government. The only real connection to government was that the task force was put together by the conservative-leaning and Republican-led National Governors Association, of which our governor is on the executive board. Thus far, no calls for Governor Herbert to resign for authorizing this “unconstitutional” product, nor calls to disband the Governor’s Association, because, in the end, this argument falls flat. 2)     President Obama supports it, so I don’t. This is, at least, ideologically coherent. Clearly, if the opposition party supports something, we ought not to. Thus far, this Republican practice has given us the Affordable...

Busted! Tooele County Democrats Care!

“Joaquin” writes: Here’s my biggest problem with the Democrat logic. You want to make it sound as if it’s such a dire emergency if some government workers lose their job due to the economy which let me remind you has not improved thanks to our federal government which has been ran in the past 4 years by Democrats in the white house and the senate. Raising taxes it’s usually the only solution democrats offer to any problem instead of running a tight budget and not one where we spend money we don’t have on the projection that the economy will improve and bring more revenue… Fiscal restraint and frugality should always be foundation of any government and it never is, governments almost alway spend beyond their means. Once property tax increases are approved they will not be rescinded if the economy improves and they will later be squandered and wasted. The laying off of government workers does not give a sense of petty, many friends, family and coworkers in the private sector have lost their jobs as well and it’s just a consequence of government intervention into the private market. Recently we received a comment from “Joaquin,” who seemed to criticize Tooele County Democrats for being concerned about Tooele County employees losing their jobs and for recommending a tax increase to solve the county’s budget woes. He went on to state that a government should focus on being responsible and frugal with taxpayer funds. Well, Joaquin, it’s true that Tooele County Democrats are concerned for county employees who lost their jobs. In fact, we are concerned when anyone loses...

2013/14 Tooele School District Budget

Here is a copy of the proposed 2013-14 budget for your review.  The take away is that the district is showing a $2.9 million deficit for the next school year.  At this time, it’s not known what solution district administration will offer to remedy the shortfall. The school board is scheduled to approve the district annual budget at its 18 June meeting.  Any citizen action/input much take place before this date!  The 4 June 2013 School Board Meeting is very important! Tooele County School Board Meeting June 4, 2013 @ 6:30pm District Offices, 92 Lodestone Way, Tooele Preliminary Budget Presentation-June...