A University of Utah report on private school vouchers released just 10 days before next Tuesday's Referendum 1 vote is raising concerns among legislative leaders, including House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy.Maj. Leader Bramble and Speaker Curtis, the two heads of their cameras of the legislature, are trying to intimidate the University plain and simple.
Lawmakers say they are more concerned about the timing of the report from the U.'s Center for Public Policy and Administration than its content. Curtis went so far as to call the U.'s vice president for government affairs, Kim Wirthlin.
Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo, said he did not fault Curtis for making the call. "From my understanding of what that call was, it was appropriate," the Senate leader said, adding he had talked with Curtis about his conversation with Wirthlin.
Curtis' chief of staff, Chris Bleak, told the Deseret Morning News that Curtis did not want to talk about the call. However, Curtis reportedly told KUTV Ch. 2 that the university would "create hard feelings with certain members of the Legislature" because of the report.
David Patton, director of the U. center, said the intent of the report was to provide unbiased information to people who wanted to make a decision about the voucher issue.
And why? Because the University is trying to do a public service by releasing a study about the biggest issue on the ballot a 10 days before it is voted on. You and I dear reader, might have been focused on this battle for a year or so, but your average voter didn't have much thought about it until he was was bombarded with ads from both sides.
Since the University of Utah is trusted, even by Cougar fans, to present intellectually honest analysis, it seems fair for them to do it. Remember, the U is funded almost entirely by taxpayer dollars, which is appropriated by people controlled by Curtis and Bramble. The Huntsmans and the Eccles can't fund the U all by themselves.
This bullying is just another example of how antidemocratic and anti-empirical-evidence our legislature is. We need new leadership, and I hope vouchers next fall will give us that leadership by voting out those who wasted all our time, money, and effort on this stupid bill.