The ongoing purpose of People4Utah is to provide a structure that enables people to wield collective influence and engage in pragmatic problem solving of issues that are not currently being addressed within established political structures. Based on initial surveys of Utahns, People4Utah is focusing its attention on four key issues we believe are of prime, pan-partisan interest:
We are working on vehicles that will ensure our Utah leaders pay the proper attention to these immediate issues. We can keep you informed of what we find out, and avenues you have to make your voice be heard.
SPECIAL FOCUS: Air Quality
One of Utah’s biggest problems is our air quality--it is among the worst in the nation. A recent study found that on average Utahns lose two years of their life because of our terrible air! Not only does it impact our health, it hurts our economy. On average it costs the state's economy $1.8 billion per year. Frequently, these impacts fall hardest on the most vulnerable in our communities.Unfortunately, our state has not responded to this crisis with the urgency and seriousness it deserves. Some corporations--like refineries--win when they dump their waste in our airshed. They have effectively leveraged lobbying to preserve their bad behavior and perpetuate a false narrative that clean air is a choice between development and health. It is not. We all win when we clean up our air.
SPECIAL FOCUS: Public Lands
It is said when you have golden eggs you shouldn’t kill the goose. Utah’s public lands are the goose that provides multiple golden eggs: jobs, recreation, refuge, clean air, water, a needed buffer for the impacts of climate change. This has become especially apparent during the pandemic where more people have felt a greater need for the renewal of spirit that our open and wild spaces provide.A cooperative joint stewardship amongst all stakeholders should be pursued to address the use of Utah’s unique landscape. Policy decisions must recognize the interests of future generations and will require a forward looking approach from recreation to energy. The Utah Roadmap, accepted by the Utah legislature in 2020, prioritizes economic development investment and partnerships in energy-transition in rural communities. Accepting that these lands also belong to all we would be wise to work together to defend, preserve, and sustain Utah’s precious and pristine lands.
SPECIAL FOCUS: Healthcare
Americans have been paying for healthcare through public taxation for 75 years. We pay more than do the citizens of any other country yet we do not get the value for that heavy taxation. Money is not the solution to our health system woes. It is better money management of the taxes that already stream through our federal, state, and local governments. We can improve the quality of care and expect leaner administration of care systems.
The inefficiencies in healthcare cost taxpayers $500 billion per year. Poor quality healthcare service costs taxpayers another $700 billion per year. One immediate step to better healthcare in America is The State Based Universal Health Care Act, currently sponsored by Rep. Ro Kanna (D-CA). It is decades past the time when we Americans could have and should have attended to the major flaws* in the social safety net of healthcare.
*The dysfunction of the American healthcare system can be outlined with a few statistics. Americans spend more per capita on health care than do the citizens of any other nation, by far. Other first world nations average half the health care spending of US citizens. For that enormous outlay of money, US citizens are least likely among first world citizens to enjoy relief from causes of death amenable to prevention through proper application of clinical science. 400,000 Americans die each year due to preventable injury while hospitalized, the third leading cause of death in our country. In the developed world, only Americans can find themselves without financing for health care when faced with illness or injury. The cost of caring for injuries and illness is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the US, yet never causes personal bankruptcy in any other first world nation.
SPECIAL FOCUS: Public Education
With the economic consequences of COVID education funding this year must be seen through the lens of investment rather than as a place to make panic-driven budget cuts. Teachers and parents have learned much about the challenges of online education, but parents can’t go back to work until children go back to school. Schools aren’t optimal environments for learning, nor are they able to provide adequate social distancing when there are 27 or more students in a classroom with only one teacher.This current crisis must not be considered in a vacuum. The most valuable resource we have is our children. Utah’s economic future must have a competent workforce to adequately fill the manufacturing, service, professional, and technology jobs that will help us rebound to a stronger, more diverse and stable future.