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My Experience At The Utah State Legislature: Part 5, Where’s the Line?

Chief Sponsor: Ken Ivory
Senate Sponsor: Wayne L. Niederhauser
February 21, 2012 was my birthday.  It was also the day when very important proposed legislation sailed through the House Natural Resources, Agricultural, and Environment Committee and is now headed for the floor.
What a birthday present!  The best present I have received in years. For this post I am simply going to direct you to some resources and ask you to take 30 minutes and educate yourself on this volatile subject.
I just want to point out a couple of things:

  1. I think it is clear, even beyond doubt, that our national economy is in grave danger.  I honestly don’t want to overstate the case, and I don’t think I am, so at what point in the development of a crisis should one abandon caution and begin to more anxiously engage a course correction.
  2. The Utah State annual budget is 12 billion dollars.  More than 40% of that is provided from the federal government.  To state it more bluntly, the sovereign status of Utah or any republic is weakened when that republic is dependent on a higher power.
  3. How prudent is it to continue dependence on a source that is unstable?  Do not mature Utahan’s have an obligation to anticipate the future and make provisions for it?
  4. Can/should Utah be concerned with providing for itself? Is the United States stronger or weaker if the several states are economically independent of the national government?
  5. By what means could Utah be economically self-reliant?
  6. Do the current Utah legislative activities regarding her relationship to the Federal government have any application to your state?

Where’s The Line 
Video #1
Video #2
White Paper

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Comments (9)

  • Roger Davidson

    Hello, Dr. Brooks.
    Based on the historic success of the United States being in the plural, and not singular; Utah would be prudent to provide for the safety, security, health and prosperity of its citizens. Self sufficiency works on the micro or macro, and as such, Utah should attempt to leverage its efforts in food, energy, forest products, mining, and manufacturing necessary and sufficient to support all of those sectors. The production and minting of coinage in gold and silver, or trade arrangements with export commodities for them to other free states deserves priority.
    Whether it be an individual, household, business, community, corporation, city, state, or nation; each and every entity requires positive cash flow for its ultimate survival. We consider ourselves, as Americans, to have evolved past that. Well, the bond market will have the final and ultimate say in that matter. When rates rise beyond control of the wizard of Fed, which they will, our budget is busted. Overnight the welfare state falls of its own weight. If Utah is at that point unprepared, it has failed its citizens. If it is ready and able, in the manner of the history of its own residents, all will be well. All will not be easy, but your state will have an honest and balanced economy that rewards production, savings and investment. From that, with the State providing the system of law contemplated by Bastiat and the Founders; all will be well.

    February 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      I agree and hope more people will see the reality as you do. Thanks.

      February 28, 2012 at 7:28 am
  • Allen Levie

    Historically I’ve heard that at 3% are needed to lead during crisis. How is it that the 3% prepared leaders lead when general morality and education in Utah seems so low?
    It seems there must be a needed Wilbur Wilberforce type solution unlooked for and somewhat unrecognized lurking somewhere. If so where is the relentless work and preparation swinging the pendulum to this end? If the momentum is not sufficiently there how could it occur in real-time? Kif this is true what is this 3rd option solution?
    Do current trends support shifts of this type? If so I imagine there are several running in parallel in different industries that can come together, what are these parallel trends?
    Can this type of shift happen without spilling blood on a semi-large scale? If so, how?
    I’d like to see more statistics on how much the Federal government would be giving up in this shift so that we see the correct context when they respond and regarding how the Fed responds.
    The website we are being referred to here does not seem to convey credibility from its appearance. Can this be changed? Who is responsible for its content?
    This seems absolutely necessary to our state’s sustainability as we roll through this season of shifting. What is the likelihood of its success?
    What are the possible outcome-scenarios? I’m guessing there are more than 2 but not more than 5-8 likely general outcomes of this legislation and that they will go through a few major transitions before they settle.

    February 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      All good questions and most unanswerable at the present. At the founding, when Washington was in the field, although the general principles of government they looked forward to were discussed at length historically, little could be quoted to be analyzed and distilled for charts and graphs and white papers. They were doing a new thing that had been rarely tried. Virtually all they had to go on were the principles. That is why it took so long to write a constitution and come to agreement (1781 to 1789).
      On this present stage, I can only tell you that from the side lines it is easy to ask questions, easy to wonder what would happen if….I encourage the questions and believe that ultimately we will need to answer all of them, but after putting some time into this–study of founding documents, hundred year old laws and much study of the Federalist Papers applied to this crisis (national financial collapse), I believe that prudence dictates that if we don’t step-up, we will have little chance 5 years from now.
      So I encourage the questions but from a perspective of how to complete the project, not looking for reasons why it won’t work.
      100 to 1, Washington had plenty of reasons why he should not have even attempted to lead the American troops–he did it for one reason, and he did it with what he had to work with, in the moment–he did it because it was the right thing to do and because he would some day have to answer to his grandchildren.
      So bring all the questions…..but also roll up your sleeves, it is time to get to work.

      February 28, 2012 at 7:47 am
  • Ryan

    This information/website says that about 66 percent of Utah’s lands are held by the national government and, therefore, not taxable. If the title to these lands was given to Utah and the lands were taxed, who would be taxed? Most of the public land in Utah is in no-man’s land. All of the privately owned land is in the populated areas.
    Is “AreWeNotaState” suggesting that if Utah owned all of its land, then it would allow businesses and residents to use the land and that they would then be taxed for its use? Thanks.

    February 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      Good question. The process of disposing of the land is the process of selling it to private parties who would then have the burden of paying the taxes.
      Yes, much of the land in Utah is not much to look at, however on second glance there are more than two trillion dollars in natural resources alone not to mention the options that new technology will open in the future.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm
    • Forrest Brown

      You tax the companies who would be drilling for oil or minerals. This would increase employment in Utah and give more funds to our schools. It would be hard for us to give up the $5.2 billion we get each year from the federal government.

      March 10, 2012 at 7:11 am
      • Shanon Brooks

        As a result of the failed super committee, Utah will loose 9% of the current amount of federal resource funds in 2013.
        We had better begin finding ways to replace the federal funds before they are all gone. There is no question that it is going away any way.

        March 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm
  • American Lands Council | Shanon Brooks

    […] I wrote about this topic eight months ago while I was working at the Utah Legislature. It was important then and it is just as important today. […]

    August 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

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