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Bethanie's Values TV Spot


Four Reasons to Become a Democrat PDF Print E-mail
  1. I firmly believe our country was established with a multi-party system that contains checks and balances to promote progress and prevent abuse of power.  Without balanced representation we lose our voice, and the voting process loses its purpose. That may be why we are seeing such apathy at the polls.
  2. I strongly support public education, and for some reason, our schools have been getting less and less attention and funding each year for the past ten years. I don’t know why this is, but the Republican legislators have voted against supporting public education at a very high rate. In fact, all but one of our current representatives from Utah County are in the bottom 12% of legislators who vote for pro-public education legislation.
  3. I don’t support regressive taxation. That means that the poor and middle class pay a higher proportion of their income in taxes than the wealthy do. Utah has a very regressive tax system, and the new systems on the table won’t change that. In fact, they will result in at least a net loss of $70 million in income tax. As you know, income tax is what funds our schools.
  4. Harry Truman observed, “To live like a Republican, vote Democrat." I believe that Democratic values are American values. We believe in community. We support each other. We don’t try to improve our life situation at the expense of someone else, which is what happens with tuition tax vouchers, regressive tax systems, and pandering to well-funded lobbyists.
  5. I know, I only said four, but this is important. As a Democrat, you can think what you like, you can vote how you like, you can say what you like, and you still belong.

 

 
We need real tax reform, not the governor’s plan PDF Print E-mail

Tax reform. Tax cuts. Those are appealing terms for most Utahns. Who wouldn’t like to pay fewer taxes? When the state legislature meets on September 19 this week in special session, tax reform and tax cut will be the main agenda. But neither term applies to what the governor proposes and the Republican majority appears to accept.

The governor’s tax reform plan is really a tax cut for less than five percent of Utahns, mainly taxpayers who make over $250,000. The rest of us will continue to pay a higher proportion of our income in taxes than the wealthy do. Not only that, but the $70 million in tax cuts that these few lucky taxpayers will enjoy is coming straight out of our public education funding, which currently holds a comfortable lead for last place in the nation on per-pupil spending. How low can we go?

The Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants has wisely opposed the governor’s plan. We agree. Let’s stop waving a white flag of welcome to wealthy outsiders in hopes of stimulating economic growth. Instead, let’s stimulate the economy with real tax reform and tax cuts for the average Utah taxpayer. If tax reform helps them, then it helps almost everyone. What kind of tax reform do we really want to see?

1. Tax reform that helps average Utahns send their children to college. In a recent survey, Utah was ranked higher than most other states in educational affordability. Yet college costs are rising and the percentage of Utahns who go to college is shrinking. We’re not serving our own citizens well when fewer of them can go on to college. We need to look at ways to use the tax system to stimulate college attendance and graduation so Utah in the future has a skilled labor force.

2. Tax reform that is more graduated. Utah has a regressive system, which makes middle- and low-income families pay a larger share of their incomes in taxes than the wealthy do. The new tax plan will shift even more of the burden of paying taxes and supporting government programs to the middle class, while at the same time collecting less revenue. That is unfair to most of us who are trying to pay our bills, educate our children, and get ahead.

3. Tax reform that protects public education. School districts should be allowed to opt out of RDAs in their area. Far too much money in Utah (one estimate says $40 million) is drawn from potential school funds to support for commercial, primarily retail, development. Utah needs commercial development, but it should not be on the back of our education system.

If I were in the state legislature I would oppose the governor’s tax plan. Instead, I would work for real tax reform and real economic growth for all Utahns, not just a few.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 September 2006 08:38
 
What ever happened to freedom of speech? PDF Print E-mail

Ken Peay and I submitted the following remarks as an op-ed to the newspaper but they were never published. Luckily for us, the internet is still non-partisan.

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Representation isn’t always easy, but it is a public trust. We are candidates for the state legislature who believe our job is to represent our constituencies and listen to what they have to say. Regrettably, some people on Capitol Hill are trying to limit the public’s access to their representatives.

 

The Capitol Hill Preservation Board, which includes the lieutenant governor, the Senate president, and the speaker of the House and others, is responsible for administering the Capitol building and complex. They decided to ban the public from distributing leaflets to legislators in the halls of the State Capitol while allowing lobbyists to do the same thing. The Deseret News reported that during the recent debate over whether to fund Medicaid benefits for poor people, some advocates of Medicaid funding were distributing leaflets showing people with untreated, bad teeth. We guess the Republican majority didn’t want to look at the potential consequences of their decisions. Instead, they decided to ban the messenger.

 

What does this rule change mean to you? It means if you are wealthy enough to pay a lobbyist to stand in the hallways of the State Capitol you can have information about your cause distributed to legislators. But if you are a common citizen who just wants to give out information to your own legislators while they are shuttling between meetings and legislative sessions, then tough luck for you.

 

Obviously, we strongly oppose this wrong-headed decision. Lobbyists should not be privileged in reaching legislators over the vast majority of constituents. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to petition their government. It doesn’t say only lobbyists have that right. Members of the general public should not be second-class citizens in their own state capitol.

 

We call on the Preservation Board to reverse itself immediately. If it refuses to do so, we urge the legislature to act to overturn this slap at the people of Utah. If the legislature won’t do that, voters should remember the price of arrogance come November.

 

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Bethanie Newby, a homemaker, is the Democratic candidate for State Senate District 15 in Orem and west Provo, and Ken Peay, a retired Utah Highway Patrol commander, is the Democratic candidate for State House District 64 in southern Utah County.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 September 2006 14:24
 
Why am I a Democrat in Utah? PDF Print E-mail

I understand the challenge of being a Democratic candidate in Utah. Nevertheless, I love the inclusive nature of the party, and the freedom I feel to speak my own mind. I have observed a willingness to engage in civil discourse and a mutual respect for the political process and for the people in our state, both from other Democratic candidates and legislators in this state, as well as from people passionate about their causes. It is a great thing to see American government functioning under a multi-party system. It allows for a greater diversity of ideas and solutions to make it to the table. With balanced representation, these ideas and solutions can be debated, refined, and instituted. Isn't that better than trying to provide all the answers from the same mindset? Too bad that balance does not exist in Utah government.

I saw an article in today's paper (7/5/06 Daily Herald, D-1) mentioning the need for more women in engineering. Christine Hailey, associate dean of the college of engineering at Utah State University, said that “If you recruit only one kind of person, you have less creative design solutions than if you recruit a spectrum of people.” What a great comment! I believe we need creative and innovative solutions to address specific weaknesses in our state, such as education, affordable health care, transportation and energy issues, and the needs of our growing population of seniors. We can and should look to other states for ideas, but our specific demographics and resources demand we come up with exciting, new ideas as well. What a great incentive for insisting on a representative government.

Our politics are born from our values, and Democratic values are about improving the lives of our fellow Americans. I don't feel comfortable improving my life situation at the expense of someone else. That is what many recent tax changes have done by decreasing the percentage of taxes to the wealthy and shifting a higher tax burden on the middle class. I know that many of our lower-income, fixed-income, and minority populations in our state are unable to improve their lives for various reasons. Helping them is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing. Why? Well, when incomes grow, the economy grows. When everyone is educated, opportunities for personal and economic growth increase, as does one's ability to be self-reliant. When opportunity is stifled or ignored, costs rise and dependency grows. Cooperation makes sense.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 October 2006 00:11
 
Orem Summerfest Parade PDF Print E-mail

Bethanie recently marched in the Orem Summerfest Parade, along with 27 other "newbies." Alissa Hartley, former rock star and Bethanie's sister, wrote the theme song, which was recorded with bass and electric guitar, and sung by voice coach and performer, Janet Hatch. Click here to listen to a great tune.

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Click here to see the rest of the pictures in a slide show.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 September 2006 08:42
 
No Closed Doors PDF Print E-mail

I believe that a truly democratic government only works when it functions as it was set up. That is, we will see open, accessible, and common sense legislation only when there is a balanced, multi-party system with legislators who are unafraid to hammer out decisions in public forums with public input.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 September 2006 14:23
 


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