Thursday, May 25, 2006

Not A Very Special Session

By Todd Taylor
Executive Director,
Utah Democratic Party

It is frustrating to know that in a time of plenty, when the State of Utah has had surpluses in excess of $1 billion, that we won’t take care of the neediest in our community.

The Republican Legislature's failure yesterday to vote on basic health care for the poorest of us sorely disappointed the citizens of Utah. Providing the extra Medicaid funds is the right and moral thing to do.

Governor Huntsman did the right thing by putting the item on the special session Call and was able to find the funds within the current Health Department budget. But on party line votes — Republicans opposing the spending, Democrats for it — the $2 million bill was defeated without even letting it be voted on the floor of either chamber.

The Republican infighting was about their internal politics, not serving the interest of our people. Not only was their action a failure on humanitarian grounds, it was a return to backroom deal-making and showed lack of courage to allow a floor debate.

The idea that the legislators' failure to vote helps them avoid criticism for a "no" vote is misguided. We know who is responsible. The absence of a vote is a "no" vote because it has the same effect.


Anonymous said...

Todd Taylor is brilliant. Thanks for daring to say what we are all thinking. This latest Republican debacle is appalling and I hope that this issue isn't swept away too quickly. Democrats needs to organize and galvanize NOW. State Dem party leaders and electeds are doing a great job. Concerned democratic citizens need to jump on the bandwagon and show their support for change. I’m not sure how much more any of us can take from the present party-in-power.

Southern Utah Moderate said...

Our Utah legislature had a beautiful opportunity to show us that families in Utah really do matter. But instead of providing the necessary $2mil to fund dental benefits for the neediest among us (Utah's disabled, blind & elderly), they chose instead to approve $15mil for a parking structure. Our own St. George Rep. Urquart defended the action by saying that the governor is naive and should know better, and should have worked harder to fight for the people that this would help. Huh? The governor should have worked harder to fight for the needy? When is Mr. Urquart and the rest of our partisan legislature going to do right by Utah's families? They were elected to represent all of us - the priviledged *and* the impoverished. The proposed money to fund this necessary program is *already* available. While it may have taken some extra work to move things around in the budget, this is what the legislature has been hired by the people to do... do the hard work and do right by everyone. By refusing to even discuss this budget item and not allowing it out of chambers, the Utah legislature has proven once again that it likes to talk about family values, but falls short when it comes to valuing families.