Provo’s State-of-the-City in 2018

Provo officially inaugurated Michelle Kaufusi this January 3rd as its newest (and first female) mayor.  She delivered her first state-of-the-city address this January 18th, which proposed both good and bad for Provo’s near-future.

As for the good, Mayor Kaufusi encouraged both community spirit and volunteerism, which is always commendable.  She also proposed a new wastewater treatment facility, which sounds like a fine idea, as long as it’s genuinely needed.  And she proposed a newly-consolidated customer-service department to better help patrons of the city’s growing array of business ventures.  So far, so good.

It’s this latter item that introduces the bad, though, because no city should ever need a customer-service department.  This department has become necessary only because our city officers have followed our federal government’s bad example by running so many businesses.  In fact, for all practical purposes, our city’s mayor currently doubles as C.E.O. of over a dozen city-run business ventures, which now include a redevelopment agency, a power company, an airport, a television channel, a library, a money-losing performing arts center, a thriving recreation center, a fitness center, a golf course, an ice rink, a water park, a park service, a gun range, a garbage-collection service, a recycling service, and a cemetery.  And, by the way, our city officers have shown interest in expanding this list to include both a museum and a beach.

Altogether, this diverse array of at least 16 businesses arguably constitutes far too much responsibility for a single conglomerate to manage effectively, especially a conglomerate that’s entirely led/managed by politicians.  Whenever such public businesses perform well (as Provo’s new recreation center has been doing), it’s always a rare-and-fleeting exception to the timeless universal rule, which is one reason why we would do well to fully spin-off all such businesses into the private sector.  Another reason for such spin-offs is that our public sector should avoid distracting itself from its core responsibilities (and proper role) of expertly helping us to defend our God-given rights.

And our politicians should definitely only defend rights and never violate them!  Sadly, our city officers have already been infringing upon our equal God-given rights by trying to centrally-plan development in west Provo, while cracking down on landlords’ private property rights, which are two other sad items that Mayor Kaufusi mentioned in these remarks.  If she continues to exert ever-more political control over our now-thriving city economy, then such control will ultimately devastate it, much as Detroit governed itself to death in 2011.

So, altogether, Mayor Kaufusi seems poised to perpetuate the relatively-statist policies of her predecessor, sadly, and to fulfill her campaign slogan of wanting a “strong” Provo—which, as best as I can tell, includes rendering our city government strong enough to control the local economy and even decree grocery stores into existence at will.  This means that we’ll need to remain vigilant, and prepare ourselves to mobilize our like-minded neighbors to oppose such bad policies—and to help them to choose better in 2021.  If you haven’t already done so, then please peruse our website to learn more about what’s wrong with Provo, along with how we might solve those problems together.

Do you agree with this analysis?  Why or why not?  What more can or should we be doing to foster a freer Provo?   Please leave your feedback below.


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