Liljenquist talks budgets, immigration

Government budgets are like a”high stakes game of Hungry Hungry Hippos,” said Dan Liljenquist, former state senator. Like the board game Hungry Hungry Hippos, different groups and programs looking for state money – the hippos – are fighting over portions of the state’s funds – the marbles.Liljenquist addressed state and federal budgets, the need for states to reclaim some power from federal government and welfare and immigration issues at a town hall meeting Wednesday night. He is challenging Senator Orrin Hatch for a seat in the US Senate. Elected to the Utah Senate in 2008, Liljenquist said he spent his time in office reforming Utah’s pension and Medicaid programs. In 2011, Liljenquist said a state plan for Medicaid that put a cap on the program’s spending was rejected by the federal government. Liljenquist said as a senator he to get the state Medicaid reform passed. Liljenquist challenges Hatch, saying the US senator has expanded budget entitlements during his 18 years on the Senate Finance Committee. This is not the way to fix the budget, Liljenquist said.”It’s time for a new generation of leaders,” Liljenquist said. The federal government is overreaching its power, especially with education and environmental boards and agencies, Liljenquist said. The power to decide what is best for kids in school and how to use state property should be determined by the state government. For example, Liljenquist said Utah’s land has natural resources the state can’t use due to federal regulations. The state needs to be able to produce its own oil and gas in an effort to get “back to self reliance” and not depend on foreign oil. When it comes to welfare and immigration, citizens who “come with sleeves rolled up and not their hands held out” should be the ones to benefit. Welfare has become a “safety hammock, not a safety net,” because the benefits are so good that partakers have a hard time leaving, like a hammock can be difficult to get out of. Because the benefits are so good, recipients might be swayed from trying to find a second job or earn more money because then they won’t be eligible for welfare programs. Welfare should still be given to those who need it, but the program needs to be seen as more of a help than an entitlement. Those who work their hardest but still need help should should be the ones to get it.Liljenquist said the United States is “a nation of immigrants.” However, immigrants need to find a way to enter the country legally and be ready to work once they get here, he said. The federal government has taken some power that should belong to the states. When it comes to immigration, however, Liljenquist said the issue is a national one and should be handled at the federal level. The first step on getting a grip on immigration is by securing the border. “It’s like having a patient bleeding out on a hospital table. You don’t stand around and figure how you’re going to clean up the blood. You sew up the patient,” he said. Liljenquist has a history in finance. He studied economics at Brigham Young University and law at the University of Chicago. He worked for Bain Consulting, where he specialized in taking failing companies and turning them into successful companies. More information about Liljenquist can be found on his

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