Niederhauser Supportive of Lawsuit Over Bears Ears

20170108 Niederhauser InterviewSenate President Wayne Niederhauser says he expects “a lot of noise” during the 2017 session about the new Bears Ears National Monument.

“I don’t know what we can do about it,” he says. “There’s a lot of things being said, a lot of ideas being presented. There’s really nothing we can do about it.”

Niederhauser was a guest on the “I Have Questions with Bryan Schott” podcast. He did not mince words when condemning the monument designation by President Obama, calling the move “tyranny.”

“I just have to say how have we gotten to the point where a single person can make that decision?” he said. “They say Congress gave up that right. But Constitutionally, can they even give it up, even if they expressly gave it up? I think it’s unconstitutional for them to give up a right they have. They ought to be part of all those major kinds of decisions as the representatives of the people, and it’s the president and Congress together that ought to make those decisions, not one single person.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says he plans on filing a lawsuit against the monument designation. Niederhauser says he supports the idea of a lawsuit over Bears Ears, but he wants to make sure the state isn’t simply throwing money down a hole before he fully commits.

“I want to know what the legal ramifications are. We want to be careful with taxpayer dollars and don’t want to send that down some kind of road. We need to focus on having Congress or the Trump administration to minimize or reverse whatever has taken place.”

Niederhauser also discussed the “Our Schools Now” group which aims to put an income tax hike on the 2018 ballot. If the proposal is successful, it will pump hundreds of millions of dollars into Utah’s public education system. Niederhauser says he does not favor the idea of a tax hike, saying lawmakers should try to find more money for education first.

“I believe, just to be straight up on this, an increase in income tax is the wrong thing to do. It’s absolute the wrong thing to do if we want to create jobs and grow the economy. It’s a tax on productivity. It will be negative for us in attracting businesses if we increase the rate. There are other things to do. We have credits for exemptions and tax deductions; we could phase those out earlier. That could generate several hundred million dollars. That’s the kind of discussion we need to have.”