Democrats Welcome Walker to the Fold

Democrats Welcome Walker to the Fold

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Democratic legislators had good things to say about Governor Olene Walker's maiden State of the State address.

In it, she called for keeping state finances sound while boosting education and attracting jobs. She challenged legislators to lift Utah out of the bottom in public education funding and warned the state's economy depends on it.

The Republican governor briefly made a pitch for sweeping tax reform, but that awaits the report of a task force she appointed that's due to make its recommendations in August.

Democrats said education and tax reform were their issues, and they welcomed Walker into the fold.

Utah Democratic chairman Donald Dunn said those are things the Democrats have been trying to get passed in the Republican-dominated Legislature for years.

In a formal Democratic response, Senators Mike Dmitrich, Ron Allen and Gene Davis taped a three-minute video. They called for closing corporate tax breaks and loopholes and raising more money for education. They accused Utah Republicans of offering patently unconstitutional bills that make no sense.

A Republican bill to define marriage so as to exclude unions of gay couples and another that would further restrict abortion are running into trouble because of poor wording or constitutional problems.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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