Back to Top

Key Issues


Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability

The Salt Lake County budget has doubled in the last ten years and yet the number of residents directly served in unincorporated areas have shifted dramatically into our towns and cities.

So why then is our budget – and your tax burden – exploding?

I have managed multiple billion-dollar construction projects for both private and federal owners. These projects were not “cost-plus” with no cap on price. They were “At-Risk” to a maximum price or for a fixed price, so my team and I were accountable for any budget overruns. If we did not deliver on budget according to all other stipulated requirements, it was reflected in our performance evaluations and compensation.

Many in our business understand that we are never more than one “bad job” away from stifling your career or looking for a new job.

Service on the County Council requires the same level of accountability, so I will dig into the budget, work with all stakeholders to identify waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary expenditures, and eliminate them. We will also look to sunset services that are no longer applicable in a county with wall-to-wall cities.

Salt Lake County has a unique opportunity to work with its cities and towns and state government to find the right balance between becoming more efficient without cutting those services required by law. But they may also need to adapt with our growth, which means they are subject to changes. They need to serve the current residents and businesses first because our first obligation is to current taxpayers who are footing the bill.

Read More

Economic Development

Since moving here in 2011, I’ve seen more development in Salt Lake County than I saw living outside Washington, D.C., from 2000 to 2011. Property values have increased to the point where many first-time homebuyers have been cut out of the marketplace and those on fixed incomes can't keep up with taxes. When people who grew up here cannot afford to live or retire here, their government has failed them and change is required.

Many of the forecasts and predictions we have trusted for guidance on this growth have been wrong, and brought unintended consequences. We need to look hard at the types of businesses we attract here to ensure they do not price us or our kids out of the market. We also need to refocus on workforce development in areas like skilled labor and manufacturing. There are tremendous opportunities for young people to start high-paying, lifelong careers that do not require a college degree.

We also need someone with experience like mine who understands the planning and development process, local zoning codes, and the proposed overreach of state government whereby the current Governor hopes to overrule our local elected officials and dictate higher density housing development. This 'band-aid' approach to solving the affordability problem reflects yet another unbalanced economic development strategy out of the Governor's office, GOEO, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, and other local NGO's.

Lastly, we will need to balance preparations needed for the 2034 Olympics while ensuring our taxpayers do not bear the burden and further squeeze those on an already tight budget and suffering from the hidden tax of inflation caused by years of reckless federal monetary policy.

Read More

Homelessness, Addiction, and Mental Health

We have been dancing around the issue of homelessness for years and our recurring plan has been to throw more money at the problem. We need to address the root cause of the vast majority of our countywide homeless problem: addiction and mental health.

The current 'Housing First' policy is a proven failure, and not just in Utah.

We will measure the current performance of our mental health and addiction services and determine if they warrant further investment of our tax dollars because, if they don't, we will pivot to a plan that combines more aggressive enforcement of laws already on the books with a robust new strategy that reduces recidivism by addressing addiction and mental health.

I will also use my seat as a bully pulpit to end the culture of enablement we have created by our current DA's lack of enforcement and elected officials who go along with it. Besides the effect on the general public, our police, mental health counselors, and addiction experts are put at risk by elected officials' failure to discourage this behavior and take effective action.

The Environment

People continue to flock to Salt Lake County, which is expected to see an additional 600,000 residents in the next 40 years. And while the easy target lately for news outlets and the environmental lobby has been to blame alfalfa farmers in the Basin for dropping Great Salt Lake levels, we cannot ignore the fact that one of the biggest influences on our ecosystem is population growth along the Wasatch Front.

During my term, I will mobilize efforts to focus on local environmental solutions that produce local results for cleaner air and water conservation. This will be done in close coordination with other town, city, and county governments also seeing growth along the Wasatch Front.

Pledging fealty to global environmental agendas may make nice short-term PR, but they usually cost a fortune and yield very little at the local level.

Firm on Divisive Social Issues

On the pendulum of acceptance, ask yourself if America, and Utah, is more accepting than it was 10 years ago. How about 20 years? 30 years? Keep going...

Of course it is.

While the County Council has limited jurisdiction on such matters, it is possible to have compassion while also being pragmatic when it comes to policy, and I will ensure we have a very clear implementation plan for new state laws involving our public spaces and schools by holding school boards and superintendents to account. I will also draw a hard line when it comes to respecting women’s spaces and sports.

Growing up in New Jersey, I watched the malaise and decay of late 1970’s/early 1980’s New York City every night on the evening news. Living in the D.C. area 20 years later, I saw how this had been monetized into a grievance industry. While there are disenfranchised members of our community, I also know each subsequent generation has experienced improvements over previous generations.

So, I will also waste no time calling out the professional activist class, and those who've snuck their way into politics, who use these issues to create division by stoking fires that were already out - or starting new ones - while creating very lucrative fundraising opportunities for themselves in the process.

As Councilmember, I will not take the bait and engage those in the grievance industry whose existence appears to present irrational or impractical solutions that are doomed to fail. The United States and Utah have become more and more fair for those with fewer opportunities over time, however those who have monetized the grievance industry have proven time and again they possess zero incentive to solve any problem because it’s bad for business when you work yourself out of a job. 

Let them make noise. Let them sue. Let them waste their valuable resources on daylighting their own unseriousness.

Mike Carey for Salt Lake County Council
Powered by - Political Campaign Websites
Close Menu