Given the current state of affairs in Utah, some of the following positions may seem unrealistic. Libertas Institute supports measures which move us in the direction of these positions, at a minimum, while still working to realize them in full.
Abolish the State Income Tax
An income tax is based upon the assumption that the government owns or is entitled to a portion of an individual’s earnings. It treats people as property and presumes to allow people to enjoy their wealth only after the government has first taken its share. 100% of the income tax in Utah is diverted to the government-run school system. We aim to abolish the state income tax and substitute it with a consumption-based tax where those being taxed are voluntarily engaging in an exchange that they know will be subject to the tax.
Business in Utah is extremely regulated and restricted. Libertas Institute seeks to promote across-the-board deregulation of all industries, with emphasis on removing licensure requirements for business owners and employees.
The Institute believes that the free market requires the freedom to engage in commercial transactions with whom one pleases, provided no harm is done to either party, or a third party. We therefore support policies which encourage informing consumers such that they, and not the government, can determine whether a certain product or service is worth purchasing.
Refuse Federal Money
Utah officials like to publicize the fact that our government balances its budget annually and often have surpluses. This dangerous half-truth ignores the fact that this would not be possible, under any recent budget proposal, without at least 25% of the money coming from the federal government.
Utah cannot legitimately nor successfully be a check against unconstitutional federal encroachments until it first weans itself from the federal teat. The Institute therefore supports polices which aggressively reduce the size and scope of Utah government to the point at which federal funds are no longer needed.
Oppose Federal Encroachment
Libertas Institute will strongly support state laws which seek to provide a check against unconstitutional federal encroachments. Whether dealing with health care, commerce, immigration, transportation, civil liberties, or any number of other issues over which the federal government has not been delegated any authority, the Institute will promote the use of political tools such as interposition and nullification to object to and oppose such actions.
Constitutional Protection of Natural Rights
The Utah Constitution is an uninspired and messy document. In order to ensure its grants of power are restrained according to principle, the Institute supports a constitutional amendment which places into that document explicit text that affirms the natural rights and individual liberty of each person residing within the state.
Abolition of Property Taxes
Property taxes operate on the assumption that one’s property is enjoyed only at the mercy of one’s neighbors and their majoritarian decision to determine how much property (in the form of taxes) will be taken from each property “owner.” The Institute supports individuals truly owning and making use of private property, and rejects forms of taxation which punish ownership.
Protect Property Rights
Business owners should be free to employ, contract with, and sell to whomever they please; property owners should not be forcefully made to enforce immigration law and alter their behavior based on the government’s unwillingness or inability to enforce its own laws. As such, E-Verify must be dismantled. Similarly, property owners should have the uninhibited ability to deny their goods or services to whomever they please, and for whatever reason; anti-discrimination laws violate such property rights and must therefore be opposed.
Repeal Mandatory School Attendance
Utah code currently requires that all children living within the state attend a government-run school. Limited exemptions are included, such as for homeschooling. Still, it mandates that all children receive a government-approved education. Libertas Institute believes that parents, and not the government, are the proper steward of their children. Accordingly, we support an abolition of the section of Utah code (53A-11-101.5) which compels attendance, and support parents being able to determine the best educational path, speed, and style for their children.
Privatize Liquor Stores
The government has no business owning and operating liquor stores (or stores of any type), nor regulating the production, distribution, or consumption of alcohol. The Institute promotes policies which remove Utah from the liquor sales business, as well as other forms of enterprise which should be left to the private market.
The Institute supports any piece of legislation which includes a reduction in taxes. We likewise promote legislation which aims to substantially shrink the size and scope of Utah government—especially those entities which routinely violate property rights, individual liberty, and the free market.
Utah’s tort system is in need of repair. The Institute supports bringing Utah into line with the rest of the world which follows a “loser pays” model, wherein the losing party in a lawsuit must compensate the opposing side’s lawyers. America follows a different plan, which has enabled a system in which frivolous and wasteful lawsuits bog down the system and cause costs to skyrocket. Under this American legal system in which each party pays for its legal representation, even when a defendant wins a lawsuit, he loses. We will promote and support legislation which creates a fair legal system that is predicated upon the “loser pays” model. In cases exceeding $1,000, the petitioner should be required, if duly demanded by the defendant, to post a bond for the defendant’s reasonably expected costs and attorney’s fees.
Searches and Seizures
Libertas Institute supports the concepts included in the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution. As such, we oppose unconstitutional, immoral, and invasive searches and seizures, even when cloaked in laws such as the PATRIOT Act or bureaucratically imposed like with the Transportation Security Administration. The Institute supports legislation which protects the privacy and property of Utahns by opposing such federal intrusions.
Repeal Victimless Crimes
The pursuit of justice first requires the infringement of an individual’s life, liberty or property by another. When no party is directly harmed, the government has no moral authority to punish an individual. The Institute supports legislation which removes from state code prohibitions or punishments regarding activities that are victimless “crimes.”
Libertas Institute believes that the government has no legitimate authority to choose winners and losers in the marketplace, even if done with the hope that such actions will provide more employment or taxation revenue in the long term. As such, we oppose the activities of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and support legislation mandating its closure.