Salt Lake Chamber – Enemy of the Taxpayer and Utah Children

By Ronald W. Mortensen on March 18, 2011

In 2006, the Salt Lake Chamber was designated by Americans for Tax Reform as an "Enemy of the Taxpayer".

"This is not a chamber that is looking after the interests of Salt Lake City, Utah and the business community," said Grover Norquist, the ATR's president.

Since that time the chamber has worked hard to maintain the title bestowed upon it. In 2010, when the Utah economy was still struggling, the chamber recommended that the gas tax be increased by ten cents a gallon.

During the recently concluded 2011 legislative session, the chamber testified against a bill that would have ended the practice of providing taxpayer subsidized in-state college tuition for illegal aliens. "The Chamber opposes HB191," said Salt Lake Chamber Director of Public Policy Wesley Smith. "We believe the legislation is inconsistent with the principles of the Utah Compact and would harm Utah's economy."

State Rep. Carl Wimmer, the sponsor of the bill, disagreed with the chamber and asked the members of the committee: "Why is it OK to use our tax dollars to subsidize the college education of those who are here illegally? …. Can you justify redistributing $5.5 million from taxpayers—from your citizens—and giving it to illegal immigrants to get a discount college education, when you know a majority of them don't support it? That's forcing our citizen to pay for a behavior that is illegal."

The chamber's spokesperson ignored a call for the chamber to step up and fund the tuition and living expenses of illegal aliens with private funds rather than posing as great humanitarians while requiring taxpayers to subsidize the tuition of illegal aliens and leaving the illegal aliens to commit job-related felonies in order to obtain jobs to cover the cost of their college expenses.

Responding to the chamber's position, a small businessman noted that the chamber constantly attempts to get taxpayers to pay for programs that directly benefit businesses while vociferously objecting to any taxes on businesses or any regulations designed to ensure that American workers are not replaced by low cost illegal alien labor.

Earlier, Salt Lake Chamber Vice President, Robin Riggs, had sat side-by-side with state Rep. Bill Wright, a dairy farmer, who presented his bill that grants Utah amnesty to illegal aliens and to their employers while at the same time sacrificing an estimated 50,000 Utah children who are the victims of illegal alien driven, job-related identity theft.

During his presentation, Rep. Wright consistently referred to American workers as unproductive and even blamed them for the nation's trade imbalance. Never once did he acknowledge the tens of thousands of children whose futures were being destroyed by illegal aliens who were using their identities so they could get jobs with "reputable" employers who require the completion of an I-9 form.

The guest worker portion of Wright's bill that eventually passed the legislature and was signed by the governor was largely written by the Salt Lake Chamber. It grants guest worker permits to illegal aliens living in the Utah as long as they have not been convicted of employment related felonies or other crimes. It also gives employers of illegal aliens a total pass from hiring illegal workers and allows them to continue employing illegal aliens who are currently using the identities of an estimated 50,000 Utah children and doing great harm to these children.

Thus, during the 2011 Utah legislative session which concluded on March 10, the Salt Lake Chamber ensured that Utah taxpayers would have to continue subsidizing in-state college tuition for illegal aliens and it supported a bill that guarantees its members access low cost, illegal alien labor at the expense Utah's children.

The chamber's actions are fully consistent with its "Enemy of the Taxpayer" designation and has earned it a new recognition as the "Enemy of Utah Children."