Sunday, July 29, 2012

UT League of Women Voters - Voters’ Guide

Fred C. Cox, Representing House District 32 and running to represent the newly drawn House District 30.

1.  What is crucial to creating a world-class education system in
Utah? How should it be financed?

It is crucial that Utah Public Education continue to do amazingly well with the resources we have using great teachers, innovation, and technology. Funding is already in place.

Education in Utah must be and is a priority. With approx. 600,000 K-12 students in Utah, It takes a lot of commitment. Out of the $5 Billion total "State" funds we invest approx. $2.5 Billion to K-12 Public Education and approx. $750 Million to Higher Education. Even with $13 Billion to work with including "State" funds and also funds for Federal Programs and others, we invest $3.7 Billion to K-12 Public Education and $1.4 Billion for Higher Education.

With the currently available resources, Utah does not have enough money for the demands for Public Education, Transportation, Water, Public Safety, Energy and others.  Raising Taxes isn't the answer as that can create bigger government and slower economic growth. 

Teachers often do not have the supplies they need, and in most cases deserve more pay for the critical work they do. Education Funding is too complex and funding doesn’t seem to make it to the classroom. I am working with others to help make that better.
2. What are the advantages/disadvantages of demanding that the US government turn over federal lands to Utah?

Under the US Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 8, Clause 17, and the 10th amendment, the Federal Government can not exercise exclusive jurisdiction or own land in Utah, unless it is for Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings, and it was purchased by the Consent of the Utah Legislature.

When Utah became a state, the Federal Government committed to selling the unappropriated public lands, extinguishing the title, and providing 5% of the proceeds of the sales to the State School Trust Fund.
I believe it would be better to have the land transferred to Utah as opposed to requiring the Federal Government sell the land to developers or other countries like China. The Utah State Constitution is designed to protect the Public Land based on Article XVIII, Section 1, Forests to be preserved, and Article XX, Section 1, Land grants accepted on terms of trust.  

If the Federal Government sells or transfers any public land to Utah or others, 5% of the proceeds of the sales should go to the School Trust Fund. There is a gaping loophole in that process which I have been working on to close.

3. Given the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, what do you think the legislature needs to do next to ensure adequate health care for all Utahns?

The Supreme Court could not agree that Congress has the constitutional power to require individuals to purchase their specified health care insurance, but that Congress can tax us. I will work to continue to exclude Utah from this expansion of Federal intervention into our lives.

Anything Utah can do to encourage free market insurance competition across state lines and to remove pre-existing conditions limitations would be helpful.

Removing the requirement of non-emergency care to be provided at emergency rooms and encouraging limitation of liability clauses and non-binding mediation alternative dispute resolutions will help lower the costs associated with medical care and will stop the defensive care practices helping fuel the upward spiral of costs.

Health Savings Accounts should be encouraged, along with the inventive methods to help provide Autism medical care that passed this last session.
4. What things do you consider the most important to include in a Utah law on immigration?

Utah has a unique E-Verify law for businesses having 15 employees or more. Because of Utah laws passed in 2011, this law is currently scheduled to be sunsetted. The law should not be sunsetted, but should be clarified, requiring businesses and public entities in their dealings with the Commerce Department to state that they are or not complying with the law. Businesses would either then comply with the law, or acknowledge in writing they are not complying with the law. I believe it would be few that would knowingly state they were complying when they were not. For next year, I have a bill drafted to keep and improve this law.

If we are going to have a line for people to come to this country, you can't reward those that bypass the line. They need to be sent to the back of the line. That doesn't mean you should stop treating them like people. I am in favor of simplifying and fixing legal immigration.
5. What is the single most important thing the legislature can do to improve air quality?
We don't need to limit the amount of carbon dioxide being produced, nor limit the use of coal so that power costs skyrocket.

I agreed with and promoted Rep. Arent's Air Quality Task Force proposal. How can we help decrease air pollution until we can agree on what is causing it?
We all want clean air, water, and land. We can start by reducing energy use by adopting the current energy building code for new residential buildings. I ran a bill this last session attempting to do exactly that, which was endorsed by the Salt Lake Tribune and many other groups and was the reason why Solar Day Salt Lake awarded me the "Greenest Republican in the State".  At this point, adoption is appearing to pass this next year.

We can encourage, and as a state, transition to natural gas powered cars and trucks. We can tie any economic development money to responsible clean energy improvements. We can encourage ground based heat pump cooling and heating systems, along with renewable energy.

This last year, Utah created a method for companies that want to purchase "clean" energy directly, to do so without raising the cost of power to the remaining users.