According to Utah Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell, Arizona’s new immigration law may not be the “prettiest bill on the block,” but Bell says Arizona had to do something to protect its way of life. Bell filled in for Governor Gary Herbert Thursday at a discussion with Salt Lake County Mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor Peter Corroon during the Utah State Farm Bureau’s mid-year convention in Logan. Corroon agreed with Bell that the federal government has not done enough when it comes to the immigration issue. “I think they’ve let us down,” Corroon said. “I think they need to get out there, get off their rear ends and get something done on this immigration issue. It’s caused a lot of frustration. “I don’t support illegal immigration. I think we need to tighten our borders. And frankly, I think we need to punish companies who are knowingly hiring undocumented workers.” But Corroon says he does not want Utah to pass a bill similar to Arizona’s. He says as the one in charge of a county jail he considers the immigration law an unfunded mandate unless the state puts money aside to fund it. The Democratic candidate, whose runningmate is Republican State Rep. Sheryl Allen, says he also has problems with what he sees as “racial profiling” in the bill. Bell and Corroon also discussed Utah’s current economic climate, strongly agreeing that Utah’s farmers and ranchers have remained strong during a serious downturn in the economy. Corroon, who now serves as Salt Lake County Mayor, says he has concerns about the fact that Utah has the fifth highest bankruptcy filing rate in the nation and the highest rate of foreclosures. Bell, who was filling in for Republican Governor Gary Herbert, said Utah does not have a budget crisis. “We had $500 million in our savings bank,” Bell said. “When it started raining we used a little more than half of that.” Bell said that the state is being well managed and if things get worse, the state will still be able to avoid a financial disaster. “So if next year turns out to be a double dipper or down,” Bell continued, “and we’ve gone another $200 million, and we’ve got the reserves, we’ve got construction projects that we’ve delayed or deferred without breaking any contracts, we’re another two years away from a real crisis.” The Utah Farm Bureau Convention’s mid-year convention continued Friday at Logan’s Riverwoods Conference Center with other speakers and presentations.
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