help with utopia related legislation

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at gmail.com
Wed Nov 7 14:03:34 MST 2007


On Nov 6, 2007 10:57 PM, Steve <smorrey at gmail.com> wrote:
> After having read the full text of this bill I encourage everyone to
> call their representatives immediately and urge them to vote NO on
> this bill.
> It would essentially prevent any city from joining in Utopia without a
> major referendum and even then it controls with precision what must be
> said on the ballot when a city decides it wants to either join utopia
> or provide a city wide network.

I think a referendum would be appropriate.  The people financing the
project (taxpayers) should be allowed to vote yea or nay for such a
commitment.  I would think that most cities would vote in favor of
Utopia.

The control of what must be said on the ballot seems a little cloak
and dagger though.

> Additionally it places strict limits on a cities ability to raise
> revenue via bonds and/or pledge sales tax revenue.

This is not for the state to decide.  The city should control their
own tax structure and amounts.  Tax too much and you'll drive away
citizens (and ultimately lower your tax revenue).  Don't tax enough
and you may not be able to provide subsidized services that may
attract people to your city (and ultimately increase tax revenue).
It's a delicate balance.

> Finally it states that even IF a city were to get past the rigmarole
> and be able to provide service to it citizens, it places limits on how
> the city can offer it services.
> For instance there is no way a city could offer a subsidized
> "lifeline" style service.  Additionally it forces the city to collect
> taxes on a service essentially being provided for BY taxes.

Again, this should be up to the city to decide.

> This bill is clearly a submarine attack by Qwest, Comcast and other
> incumbent monopolies to prevent Utopia from spreading, and try to put
> a stop to what is already existent, since of course these provisions
> are retroactive to 2004.

I'm no fan of Qwest or Comcast.  However, in the context of high-speed
Internet, neither Qwest nor Comcat qualify as a monopoly.  They
compete with each other and with many independent ISPs (particularly
wireless ISPs).  The government competes with no one -- they take
their revenue (by force if necessary) -- the largest monopoly of all
is the government.

> In short, get this thing struck down!

I agree that this is probably bad legislation, but I do agree with the
required referendum portion.  As the former Chief Justice John
Marshall once said, "The power to tax is the power to destroy."  Over
taxation is the very reason American Colonists waged a bloody war with
England.  A government needs to be very careful about taxation -- even
if the monies collected would go towards a potentially great service
like Utopia.  The people within each city should have the chance to
vote up or down on a major financial commitment like Utopia.

I'm assuming that Utopia will be a better implementation than iProvo,
but iProvo is costing the taxpayers a lot of money and it's not living
up to the promises the project originally claimed.  Utopia may end up
to be the same thing.

-Bryan



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