This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Gambling is illegal for Utah citizens, but apparently OK for our elected officials. They enacted a law that risks billions of state taxpayers' dollars on a long shot: the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP).
More than 20 Utah university economics professors recently released a letter to Utah's leaders with their scary LPP findings. The upshot is that the LPP would be incredibly expensive and create a massive long-term debt.
Under the law, water users in Washington and Kane counties are responsible for paying back all Utah taxpayers for the "loan" of their state funds. But the economists found that this is unlikely to be feasible, even spread out over a 50-year or longer time period. They also wondered why, if the LPP was a good bet, bonding was not used as has been done on other projects. Experts predict that Colorado River water will be more limited and unreliable in the future, so there is no assurance of LPP water.
I live in Washington County, where water use is extremely wasteful, in part because of property tax subsidies that do not correlate costs to uses. Water conservation programs would be much cheaper and more reliable in meeting future water needs.
Utah's leaders need to stop gambling with our money, and truly be fiscal free-market conservatives by repealing the LPP law.