I was out last week for foot surgery (everything went fine) and while chair-bound, amused myself finding odd bits of news to chuckle over or be offended by.
• Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, is catching well-deserved flak for opposing a proposal to give our neighbors in the military a break on their property taxes.
In a much-viewed video (on our website, www.standard.net), he said troops volunteered and already get lots of free stuff. He asked why his property taxes should go up to help soldiers more, and said people who want to cut soldiers a property tax break are “bleeding hearts.”
Jenkins is wrong on so many levels.
Soldiers do get free stuff. They get free uniforms, fitness training and trips to exotic foreign countries. After those trips, they get free medical care, including the finest mechanical arms, legs and reconstructive surgery and PTSD counseling. At their free funeral, their survivors get a free flag.
Jenkins’ mention of his taxes especially offends me.
Since 2001, nobody in this country has been asked to pay one cent more in federal taxes to fund two wars. Federal taxes were cut under both Bush and Obama.
Federal funding to municipalities has been cut, so cities, counties and school districts have to raise property taxes. We can share that burden, which would be about $1 for each home, to help out soldiers.
Interestingly, there is one group Jenkins does want to give a tax break to.
Jenkins sponsored SB 96, a $1.9 million sales tax exemption for private golf courses so they can better compete with public courses.
Fair is fair but sponsoring a tax break for golfers, while criticizing one for soldiers, looks astonishingly insensitive.
Senate Bill 96 is buried in the Rules Committee and there it should stay.
• I hope the increase in sexually transmitted diseases in Davis County — chlamydia spiked in 2011 — is not a result of Utah’s public education system being limited on how it can teach children the facts of life. A proposal before the Utah Legislature to ban discussion of contraception would only make matters worse.
Fortunately, the Boys and Girls Clubs in Salt Lake City, using Utah Department of Health funds, are teaching children facts that could save their lives, such as how to use a condom.
If you think your kid doesn’t need to know that, start clipping diaper coupons.
• A big kudo to Weber County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Greenhalgh, whose quick work giving CPR to a 2-week-old baby in Washington Terrace saved the infant’s life. Many talk of cutting government funds, but whatever the Weber County Sheriff spent training deputies as EMTs sure paid off.
• I’m glad to see Hill Air Force Base got a program to upgrade the A-10 Warthog. Faster and higher fighter jets that cost upwards of $150 million a copy are sexy, but the Cold War-era Warthog has endeared itself to our soldiers in Afghanistan, because it flies slow and low, has great linger time and is practically impossible to shoot down.
The A-10 is also a lot cheaper. As a taxpayer, I appreciate that.
• Sincere thanks to Jared Preslar, a Davis County tattoo artist who led other tattoo artists in demanding more government regulation and oversight.
Jared knows that lack of government oversight means unqualified tattoo artists will make people sick, or dead. He wants his industry to be seen as both professional and safe.
I won’t ever get a tattoo, but my kids already have, and when they get more, I want them safe. People like Jared will help make sure they are.