Utah’s Democratic Party Executive Director responded to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s State of the State address Thursday by asking for a more detailed plan.
“Utah faces many difficult issues, but our governor is just playing the margins,” Matt Lyon said. “To plan for the future we want, we must be detailed, analytical, and strategic today.
Lyon said words are nice and but that the “Devil is in the Details.”
During his speech before members of the Utah House and Senate, Herbert requested additional funding to educate students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). He also requested $2 million to pay for career counseling for students at Utah’s high schools.
“What is the plan for ensuring 60 percent of students have degrees by 2020 and how are we going to improve the devastating achievement gap among our low-income and minority students?” Lyon asked.
Herbert did discuss Utah’s air quality and has asked state government administrators to replace the transportation fleet with more energy efficient vehicles. The governor encouraged the use of public transportation but did not call detail a plan to make bus and railway systems more affordable.
“He really seems to avoid what it takes to really be a leader by throwing out lofty ambitions without the substance to back them up,” Lyon said. “We really need to question or not whether we should be using outdated equipment at our refineries. Should we even have some of these companies, like Stericycle, near residential neighborhoods?”
Accepting federal funding for Medicaid expansion in Utah is something Lyon said Herbert did not address during his speech.
During his monthly KUED press conference in January, Herbert said he will decide during the legislative session how he will proceed with an expansion plan. The full Medicaid expansion anticipated by the Affordable Care Act would cover 111,000 Utah adults who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $32,000 for a family of four. The federal government pays 100 percent of those costs through 2017, and then declining amounts, but no less than 90 percent.
“It is crazy to me with the opportunity that we have,” he said. “It doesn’t cost the state of Utah a dime. It is literally someone willing to say here is $4.3 billion over the next 10 years. Do you guys want to do something with it or not?”
Lyon said Utahans should insist on leadership that does more than put forth themes without concrete details and plans of action.