With the state's budget picture getting bleaker by the day, now is not the time for the governor and lawmakers to draw lines in the sand and become entrenched in positions that preclude realistic solutions.
The shortfall is immense, as much as a billion dollars. To maintain current spending and service levels would require hefty tax hikes. To avoid increasing taxes altogether would most likely mean excessively deep cuts across the board, which would severely impact education and vital services for the poor and otherwise needy. Job losses would likely number in the thousands.
For politicians such as the governor and key legislative leaders to adamantly say they're opposed to any tax hikes whatsoever suggests they're more concerned about ideological positioning than leading the state out of a budgeting quagmire.
Solving the state's fiscal nightmare, in KSL's view, will most certainly require a lot of painful belt-tightening throughout state government. But a few strategic tax hikes of the kind that won't threaten an economic recovery may also be needed. The tobacco tax is one example.
What the state of Utah faces is a budgeting crisis that requires cooperation and statesmanship rather than partisan posturing. It is more a time for common sense than entrenched political idealism.