There is an old Chinese saying that goes, "May you live in interesting times?"
For the members of the 2009 legislature, this is quite an understatement. A year ago, none of us would have believed the national economy could head south as far and fast as it has. Most of us felt like we might see some slowing in growth, but nothing like the challenges that the credit problems on Wall Street have brought us.
This year we begin the task of reducing the 2009 budget before even being able to consider FY 2010. On a positive note, the legislature and Governor Huntsman are likely to agree that the state ought to bond for highway projects to the tune of over one billion dollars. This will help provide our own economic stimulus plan. I believe these projects should go forward.
Economists assume that every new dollar invested in construction projects multiplies itself almost five times in our economy. One thing to keep in mind. We live in the greatest state, in the greatest country in the world and have never been afraid to roll up our sleeves and go to work. One day we will look back at all of this as a distant memory.
Legislatively, here are the bills I am sponsoring this year.
â¢HB18 Water Right Applications and Records. This bill provides certainty for public water suppliers with regard to their applications to appropriate water. If the water supplier has constructed the works to deliver their water rights then the state engineer shall extend the amount of time to prove up and grow into their appropriation.
â¢HB68 Development Exactions. This bill applies the balancing act that the land use authority may only require the amount of water that the property owner's new demand on the public system entails. It is a simple fairness issue that also ensures that once a municipality reaches full build out that no further exaction of water right may occur from the property owners.
â¢HB85 Mutual Benefit Corporations-Judicial Liens. This bill requires that any judgment lien against a mutual water company get an automatic 180 day stay against the foreclosure of the water rights or related assets of the company. This appropriate "time out" will allow the member of the company to arrange for financing to pay off the judgment before losing that most precious of resources.
â¢HJR 6 Joint Resolution regarding Property Tax Exemptions. This bill would amend the State Constitution to ensure that private water suppliers that deliver either culinary or irrigation water escape taxation on their water delivery facilities. This would make our tax policy consistent with the exemption that municipalities and special service districts currently have.
â¢HJR 12 Joint Resolution Regarding Clean Coal Technology and Carbon Capture and Sequestration. This bill endorses the technology to split the hydrogen out of coal to use as a clean fuel in electrical generating facilities. Our own USTAR is working with major utilities to develop this technology. This could be a very positive step in utilizing Utah's abundant coal reserves. Our state is in a unique position to lead the country in this area and we look forward to the jobs, growth and tax base this development may provide.
As always, it is an honor and pleasure to be able to serve you in our legislature.