Thursday, August 28, 2008

Answers - Question 5

This is the fifth in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

5) In the 2008 legislative session, Senator Dan Eastman sponsored a bill (SB46 that limits the decisions that the government of a municipality in Utah can make in regards to it's municipal waste. Do you feel such decisions are rightly made by the Utah Legislature, or the government of the municipality? Why?

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

I am glad that you asked this question because it highlights a specific situation where I think the State Legislature appropriately intervened at the local level. In this instance, the State Legislature decided that city governments cannot force commercial entities to use a specific solid waste disposal facility, except under certain circumstances. I would have voted for Senator Eastman’s bill – the best way to explain why is to propose a hypothetical.

One might argue that it would make sense for Centerville to mandate that all broadband services in Centerville be provided through the UTOPIA network. First, it would help ensure that UTOPIA remains solvent, thereby limiting taxpayer liabilities. Second, it would provide lower costs to individual consumers for broadband services because UTOPIA could charge much higher fees for commercial service. These are the exact arguments given in support for granting exclusive solid waste disposal contracts. On the surface, these arguments make some sense, however, if Centerville passed such an ordinance mandating UTOPIA use, most Utahns would expect the State Legislature to aggressively intervene to ensure that Centerville does not unnecessarily interfere with competitive markets.

I believe that it is appropriate for the State Legislature to ensure that city governments help facilitate free markets, and not restrict them unnecessarily. After studying this issue, I believe that the Legislature acted appropriately.

Democrat - Richard Watson:

Again, local governments should have the authority and power to solve local problems. Municipal governments understand local problems better than our state lawmakers do. The only outside laws that should be enforced on municipal waste are federal environmental laws regarding pollution. After all, most people, like me, enjoy clean air and clean water, but, we don't want a bunch of state lawmakers in Salt Lake City telling us how to run our neighborhoods in Davis County.

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