QUESTION #1 –Sales tax revenues are not what they used to be. How will you encourage commercial development in your city?
A city council member should not attempt to ACTIVELY encourage commercial development at all. Consumers making their own decisions with their own money is what should actively drive economic development. Businesses should compete for their business, and not be able to gain “tax breaks” or “incentives” that benefit them at the expense of their competitors. A bottom-up, free market, consumer-based approach is the only sure foundation for economic prosperity. The proper role for government is to protect individual rights and enforce individual duties. This helps to create an ideal situation for commercial development to naturally occur. It is a hands-off approach leaving individuals to make their own decisions which will, in turn, drive the market.
When the government seeks to actively “promote” economic development, they actually do the opposite. They create regulation and license induced monopolies that inhibit competition and render less quality and fewer choices for the consumer. The city’s “tax incentives” compound the infringement on competition by benefitting some business at the expense of competition. This creates an unequal playing field which the market would not otherwise have. This unjust government intrusion also inevitably comes with the burdensome taxation to pay for the enforcement of these exercises in denial, thus leaving the consumers with less money to spend, save, and invest. All these distractions also further impair government’s ability to efficiently do what they were originally hired to do: adequately and efficiently protect individual rights.
When the government seeks to maintain its proper role of protecting individual rights, freedom and free markets reign. The people can actuate the profit motive naturally within them and keep the fruit of their labors. With less people being taxed, they have more money to spend, save, and invest. With less regulation, businesses have more capital to seek better ideas at providing the best quality product for the lowest price. Free markets encourage good ideas, progress, and innovation. This type of situation is what would naturally bring about the commercial development which is desired by, and for, the people of Orem.
QUESTION #2: What is the biggest issue facing your city in the next four years? How would you address it?
The entire purpose for the existence of civil government is to protect and secure the inherent rights of the people. Therefore, the biggest issue that will ever face any legitimate government, at any time, is this sole task: To find the most effective and efficient way to protect individual rights, and enforce the corresponding duties of those rights.
UTOPIA, Midtown Village, and other mistakes the City has made, and continues to make, have been a consequence of rejecting the principles of the Proper role of Government, and at best, forgetting the entire purpose of government to begin with. Let’s learn from the lessons and consequences of the past, and forge a better future for ourselves and for future generations. The principles of freedom are the principles that were championed by the founders of our country and is the standard that the people of Orem deserve!
It is time to restore understanding and confidence in the principles of freedom here in Orem. It is time to trust the free enterprise system, to lower taxes, address the debt, get rid of the burdensome licensing laws and other business hindering regulations, and allow the principles of freedom, which made this country so great to begin with, to work within the jurisdiction of the City of Orem.
QUESTION #3: How would you define the role of city government? How would you fulfill that role?
The sole legitimate role of government, at all levels, is to protect unalienable individual rights. Thus, any government acting contrary to this is a government acting contrary to its entire purpose for existing. Government should never become a tool by which some benefit at the expense of others. Instead, government protection of rights should extend to the people generally, and leave to them to pursue their own happiness in their own way, so long as they do not infringe on anyone else’s ability to do so.
Therefore, THE guiding principle should be very clear: Any measure that supports the people’s rights, I fully support! Any measure that infringes on those rights, I am against! This is the standard that made this nation so great, and this is the standard that the people of Orem deserve!
QUESTION #4: What are your thoughts on the CARE tax?
The CARE tax interferes with the free enterprise system and is a perversion of the principle behind even having excise taxes at all. It is never legitimate for government to become the vehicle by which some benefit at the expense of other people. People, via the CARE tax, are expropriated to fund a segment of the economy they may not choose for themselves, were they ALLOWED that choice, which should actually be their own! This is wrong. In fact, it has been said that ‘there is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.’
Now, it is a logical fallacy to say that just because someone doesn’t want something to be done by government, they do not want this thing to be done at all. The Arts are very important, and should be supported. But not by force and the perversion of government itself. I am sure that if this tax were being used to benefit the coffee industry instead of the arts, the people of Orem would probably be more sensitive and aware of the ironically “moral” issues behind the use of these tax dollars. Any business, vendor, or artisan of any kind should earn their business, whether via cost, donations, or any other voluntary and lawful transaction.
A city council member should “CARE” about the constitutional principles and individual freedom. That should not include any attempt to benefit any particular sector of the economy at someone else’s expense via government force.
QUESTION #5 – What are your thoughts on the property tax referendum?
The referendum, which forced what would otherwise have been a simple vote by the city council to a direct vote by the people, is definitely a step in the right direction. It is great that the people will have essentially a direct say on the “obligations” associated with the UTOPIA fiasco, instead of leaving it up to an inevitable 6-1 vote by the city representatives. This action was also a great example of the pressure of the citizenry actually making government more efficient by making the budget work with less tax dollars, even contrary to the advice of the city management.
I proudly signed the referendum and am thankful to the people who made it happen. The last thing the people deserve is a tax increase. This becomes even more clear when given the ridiculous reason behind the previously alleged “necessity” of raising those taxes, namely, the continued tax-payer funding of UTOPIA.
I hope the people of Orem further reject the tax increase this November by voting against it! The city does not need more money to be efficient and effective. What they need is to re-prioritize and revive the founding principles and take on the more limited role that the founders recommended. Private Property Rights should be further strengthened by government, not infringed upon and unjustly taxed by government.
QUESTION #6 – How would you address the city’s involvement in UTOPIA?
I am opposed to UTOPIA, as an “obligation” of the city, from start to finish!
The first thing one must do when approaching a problem is to recognize it. This problem is not with UTOPIA in and of itself. The problem is with government guaranteeing any part of the project! Government involvement comes at the expense of the tax-payers, as ALL of Orem are taxed and “obligated” for a service to which a very small percentage even had potential access! This also benefitted UTOPIA at the expense of competition, giving them an advantage obviously not extended to others. This is a double-whammy to consumers in Orem as they are taxed more, indebted more, and yet receive less choice and quality in the marketplace as a result of a distorted market.
Instead of realizing this issue for what it is, the city council (minus one), has attempted to solve the problems of the past by a continuation of the very same mistakes that got Orem in this situation to begin with. We even had a city council member claim in a city council meeting that Orem must continue guaranteeing the project because of the alleged reason that “Orem IS UTOPIA, and UTOPIA IS Orem.” I, for one, am NOT UTOPIA, and certainly feel it immoral to obligate other people to a debt, including when government attempts to clothe that action in the robes of legality.
Bottom line: How could a continuation of the problem ever be considered a viable solution?
This solution is to get the City of Orem completely out of the business of guaranteeing any part of UTOPIA. Not to phase out, but to get out! Sure, the consequences may be painful, but they will be more painful , with even more consequences, should this mistake be continued. A city that is truly run by a smart “pay-as-you-go” philosophy should not be relying on a bond rating anyway. Some may call this irresponsible. But how could this ever be more irresponsible than obligating other people, including future generations that cannot even agree to it yet, to the tune of over 100 million dollars for a service they may or may not even have access to, let alone desire?
QUESTION #7 – What would you do to encourage economic development in the city?
A City Council member should do nothing to actively “promote” economic development via tax incentives, or any other form of direct obligation from the people. Government’s proper role is to create an environment where individual rights are protected, individual duties are enforced, which will then lead to a situation where good businesses thrive, and economic development occurs naturally. The invisible hand of the market and the driving force of the consumer is what will create economic incentives and economic developments which will last. Top-down approaches never serve as an adequate replacement for bottom-up solutions.
We must ask ourselves, what has active government involvement gotten us thus far? Instead of the promotion of “economic development” that has been sold as the reasoning behind so many of the regulations, tax incentives, and licensing laws, we have received the current situation as a result. If we want the prosperity the comes as a result of free markets, competition, and low regulatory and tax burdens, we must conform to the path that leads to it. The principles of free market economics is what originally led to this country’s great prosperity, and is what the people of Orem deserve.
Sure, a city council candidate could “encourage” businesses to come to Orem via persuasion and other voluntary means that do not include tax obligations or anything similar. Yet, as should be apparent to all, actions always speak louder than words. Working to keep the tax and regulatory burden low in Orem will always bring about business growth and development more than any verbal recommendation coming from a city council member, absent that environment conducive for their growth and prosperity.