Education and economy hot topics at Chaffetz’ Provo town hall meeting

Maddi Dayton
Congressman Jason Chaffetz speaks with a man at the town hall meeting. Chaffetz highlighted Internet commerce tax laws as a main concern of interest for Utah citizens. (Maddi Dayton)

Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, drew a decent-sized crowd at his town hall meeting in downtown Provo on July 21.

Chaffetz briefly accounted for his work in Washington, D.C. before opening up the meeting to hear the concerns of several dozen attendees. Throughout the discussion Chaffetz highlighted his commitment to use his positions as a representative and chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to increase accountability in the federal government.

“We would be here for hours just to list the investigations we’re working on,” Chaffetz said. He mentioned his committee’s investigation of the IRS, accusing it of “political targeting.”

Chaffetz highlighted Internet commerce tax laws as a main concern of interest for Utah citizens. He said he sees Internet sales taxation as states’ rights issue.

After brief introductions, Chaffetz turned over the majority of time for a Q&A session for attendees.

The federal government’s handling of tax dollars and the economy served as a main point of concern for attendees. One attendee called the U.S. economy the “prettiest horse in the glue factory.” Chaffetz responded by calling for policy changes in federal spending.

“If you don’t fix mandatory spending, you never solve the problem,” he said.

Attendees looking for Chaffetz to leverage his position as Congressman to speak out on local issues left the meeting disappointed. Chaffetz simply endorsed the judgement of local and state leaders and recommended them to handle the issues within their jurisdictions.

Benghazi got a mention as one attendee asked if Hillary Clinton would ever be held accountable for her involvement in embassy security changes.

“Hillary’s changes to embassy building plans focus more on architecture than on functionality,” Chaffetz said.

A discussion on the federal government’s involvement in the education curriculum ended the meeting. Chaffetz’ recommendation to attendees who wanted a decrease of federal involvement in education was, “Don’t take their money.”

“There shouldn’t be a Department of Education, period,” said Chaffetz, earning applause from the crowd.

Chaffetz’ sentiments echo a press release published from his office earlier this month, condemning the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. The Utah delegation in the House voted instead to help pass H.R. 5, the Student Success Act.

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