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State House Speaker Calls for Plan to Wean Utah Off Federal Dollars

Andrea Smardon

State House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart opened this year’s legislative session by calling on Utah to become less reliant on federal dollars.

Lockhart told House members that gridlock in Congress has a direct and immediate effect on Utah.

“It’s become increasingly apparent that the action or inaction of the federal government profoundly influences our success. We must have or implement a plan to get the state of Utah less reliant on federal revenue,” said Lockhart.

It was a line that drew applause from the House floor and citizens in the gallery, but Minority leader Jennifer Seelig sees the role of federal government differently.

“Federal dollars are our dollars,” Seelig told KUER, “Those are our residents tax dollars. Everyone has a role within our system.  I think we need to try to find ways where we can work with the federal government as well.

Later, when reporters asked Lockhart which federal dollars should be cut from Utah’s budget, she did not have a specific proposal.  Both Lockhart and Seelig say education is their first priority this session. 

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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