Leavitt Prepares for State of State Address

Leavitt Prepares for State of State Address

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News Specialist John Daley reportingGovernor Mike Leavitt is preparing to deliver his State of the State address tonight.

This year promises to be the most dire in recent memory for the state of Utah. Unlike previous years when we had the Olympics to look forward to and budget surpluses to draw upon, this session is expected to be filled with bad news and tough choices.

With the state of Utah facing big budget problems and the Legislature just sitting down to its general session to find ways to deal with it, Governor Mike Leavitt is preparing to deliver his State of the State address.

Leavitt has presided over some good times in Utah.

Some years have seen budget surpluses of around $500 million. But that's not the case this year, when revenues are probably going to be more than $400 million below estimates.

The big theme for tonight's speech is expected to be education reform.

The governor is expected to outline an ambitious overhaul of the Utah education system.

He will propose beefing up high school graduation requirements so that there is much more emphasis on how much a student knows about a subject and less emphasis on "seat time," and attendance.

Another topic of discussion undoubtedly will be Utah's devastating drought, now going into its fifth year.

The governor has already proposed changes to the way water is managed and the way water projects are funded, and he's expected to address that as well.

The governor's speech is at 6 p.m. this evening.

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