Federal Government Overreach

In 1982, Ronald Reagan said “the federal government is still operating under the outdated and, if I may say so, arrogant assumption that the states can’t manage their own affairs.”  If that was true over three decades ago, it is worse today.

The Tenth Amendment clearly states that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution” are “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It protects the rights of the states and the people from federal overreach.

Unfortunately, Washington bureaucrats and federal courts frequently ignore the Tenth Amendment.  Worse, states have failed to stand up for their rights as sovereign entities – looking to the federal government to solve problems and fund government programs.  The Herbert administration has furthered this troubling trend – even when there were onerous conditions attached to the federal funds.

For example, Governor Herbert’s Medicaid expansion proposal sought over $700 million a year in Obamacare funds – but on conditions which imposed unknown and uncapped liability to Utah taxpayers.  In another example, Governor Herbert as chairman of the National Governors Association, lobbied Congress to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act – a law which gives the Secretary of the Department of Education full veto power over Utah’s education plan.  This law passed, despite all members of the Utah Congressional delegation (other than Senator Orrin Hatch) voting against the bill.  These are only two of many examples of Governor Herbert encouraging federal overreach into Utah affairs.  A governor should not allow D.C. bureaucrats to mandate how we run our state.

In addition, Governor Herbert has not stood strongly against uninvited federal overreach.  For example, he has stood idly by as the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forrest Service have restricted Utahns access to public land in the state – severely hindering many rural Utahns from making a living.  Governor Herbert has not used his chairman position in the National Governors Association (or his leadership positions in other governor groups) to meaningfully further the cause of states’ rights.  Rather, he has let the staff of these groups advance a pro-federal government agenda.

During his two terms as governor, Governor Herbert has increased Utah’s dependence on the federal government from $2.5 billion/year to $4.0 billion/year – and it would be much higher if his Medicaid expansion proposals had passed.  With every federal dollar, he’s lessened Utah’s ability to stand up to the ever-increasing encroachment of the federal government.

To protect Utahns from further federal overreach and dependence, as governor I will push for laws that:

  • Require the state legislature to disclose potential costs to Utah taxpayers to maintain Utah government services or programs partially or wholly funded by the federal government if the federal government decreases or eliminates federal funding.
  • Require the state legislature to have a specific contingency plan to fund, scale back or eliminate any Utah government services or programs if the federal government cuts some or all of the federal funding for such services.
  • Require the state legislature to disclose if any proposed legislation includes federal funding, including the amount requested.