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Key Issues Still Unresolved on Capitol Hill

Key Issues Still Unresolved on Capitol Hill

Posted - Mar. 3, 2003 at 6:17 p.m.



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Government Specialist Richard Piatt reporting Even now, the hate crimes bill is getting a second look by the full House. But that's not the only issue taking valuable time. There are others that could affect both the future of your kids and your pocketbook.

In the Capitol rotunda, a silent protest over cuts to Medicaid. This, in spite of a commitment from lawmakers to fund a supplemental budget to keep 6,000 Medicaid clients from loosing their benefits.

If anything illustrated the 'you can't please everyone' philosophy, it is this.

Tough decisions are affecting real people--especially when it comes to the state's $7.4 billion budget. That budget is still not final: A House version clashes with a Senate version that calls for tax increases.

Senator Leonard Blackham, a Republican from Moroni, says, "There's no question the issue of increasing some taxes and eliminating some exemptions has created a great deal of concern among some legislators, and it should. No one likes to raise taxes."

In the Utah Senate, important changes to a bill originally drafted to tax the state's largest credit unions. Final passage of that bill has been stuck, with debate centering on whether to take the tax out; only to limit how those credit unions grow.

It is one of several bills which are changing by the hour--much to the frustration of both lawmakers and some of the interests involved.

The so-called education omnibus bill had three elements: Tuition tax credits, a tax increase, and competency standards.

Senator Tom Hatch, a Republican from Panguitch says, "It looks like we're not going to be able to hold onto two of those, the tuition tax credits and the funding, and they kind of go hand in hand."

From the education bill to the hate crime bill, even the changes to liquor laws, nothing is a sure thing until time runs out for the Legislature.

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