The Legislature punts on new anti-UTOPIA bills, but for how long?

In yesterday’s meeting of the Political Subdivisions Interim Committee (listen here), legislators sought to get a deeper understanding of what the Macquarie deal is and how it works. Unfortunately, most of the meeting consisted of the Utah Taxpayers Association spewing out fear, uncertainty, and doubt while the Utah League of Cities and Towns corrected the many, many mistakes they made. West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow also spoke and did a great job of detailing how cities are putting an extraordinary amount of effort to solve this problem on their own without state assistance.

Worth noting is that the UTA made many very thinly veiled threats to sue to stop the Macquarie deal. It felt like they were using that potential legal morass as a justification for seeking more legal restrictions. HB60 proponent Rep Curt Webb (who co-chairs the committee) also spoke against UTOPIA and seemed to have learned nothing from the massive amount of national negative press he garnered for his efforts earlier this year. Fortunately, the committee shut down an attempt to work on a bill to hamstring the Macquarie deal. They were directed to speak directly to Macquarie to get answers to some of their questions.

Overall, it seems like the committee is content to watch things play out for now and is truly interested in learning the details of the deal. Since I’m sure they’re already getting plenty of misinformation from the CenturyLink-funded Utah Taxpayers Association, it’s probably time for you as citizens to email them and let them know that you’d prefer they take the hands off approach as well. Click here to email all of the members of the committee at once and let them know how you feel.

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5 Responses to The Legislature punts on new anti-UTOPIA bills, but for how long?

  1. Richard says:

    I thought the representative from the league of cities and towns was best antidote to the UTA.

    • Greg says:

      Is this starting to sound like a comic book to anyone else? I mean these names, “The Utah League of Cities”. Haha, I’m glad that some are trying to find out the truth, instead of just taking one groups word for what it is.

      Honestly, here is the most important part. We’re on the hook for the bond, and for slightly more money we can actually get the network we should have received from the beginning. It sucks that we have to put more money into it, but the reality is that mistakes were made. We can’t go back and change this, so instead of focusing on the past, let’s focus on the future and get this network in place so that when the next 10 years goes by we aren’t scrambling (and spending a lot more money) to get a network in place that meets the demands of the people.

      The 2 offerings we have now don’t have any incentive to upgrade their networks, or make their prices competitive. The nation will follow when this plan is successful. Remember, 100 years ago they didn’t want to run sewer and water lines either.

      • Greg says:

        Just realized that the last paragraph is a bit confusing. It should be more like this:

        The 2 offerings we have now (Comcast and Century LInk) don’t have any incentive to upgrade their networks, since they know we have no choice.

        When UTOPIA is successful, the nation will follow. Just think that 100 years ago, people didn’t want to run sewer or water lines either. Networks are the next utility, most everything is conducted online now days.

  2. Matthew says:

    I was there. This assessment is exceptionally biased.

    You need to frame this committee hearing correctly. They openly acknowledged that they were not asked to do anything, and according to the major opinions presented, they also lacked the authority to do anything. They didn’t have a ball to ‘punt’. This post is ignorant at best.

    No veiled threats. Rather, very guarded legal commentary that pretty much dismissed the possibility of a case against the Macquarie deal.

    Please enumerate the ‘many, many mistakes’ made by the UTA. I only heard one. And it was in their opponents favor. They misstated Macquarie-estimated 30-50% ‘take-rate’ as the number of people who would take basic service, rather than the correct definition, being those that would upgrade.

    The only glaring untruth was presented by the league when they stated that the public was well informed. This is the most false statement (read ‘lie’) I’ve heard in the course of this debate. Do the math: 150k households and a total of 3500 people have attended meetings. I think the statement was pretty transparent, and I hope the legislators, who have not been asked to do anything, were not made victims by it.

    • Jesse says:

      “This assessment is exceptionally biased.”

      Yup. I’ve said many times that I consider myself in advocacy work, not journalism. I provided a link right there to listen to the hearing for yourself. Anyone else can sit through the 50-ish minutes (I sat through all of the rest of it live to get to that part) and hear it for themselves. Don’t like my summary? Feel free to write your own.

      A member of the committee attempted to authorize Rep Curt Webb to author a bill concerning the utility fee. Given his history with HB60, it is not unreasonable to assume it would be punitive in nature. Thankfully it was shot down very quickly, but don’t pretend that this ambush wasn’t attempted. Or that it won’t be attempted again.

      Yes, there were a LOT of veiled threats by the UTA-paid lawyer. Reading between the lines made it very clear that the UTA wanted either legislative action to derail the negotiations or that they would likely file a suit to “seek clarification” (read: hold up the deal for as long as possible).

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