400 Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
- Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
- Local 202.783.3870
WASHINGTON, DC- Today, FreedomWorks is pleased to announce that Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist will be the recipient of the FreedomWorks’ “Legislative Entrepreneur of the Year Award” for his remarkable accomplishments towards reining in government spending in Utah. Senator Liljenquist solved Utah’s looming pension crisis by moving future state employees to a 401(k) style system and got the incentives right on Medicaid spending, saving Utahns hundreds of millions of dollars. The Senator joins a prestigious list of previous winners, including then-Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio (R-FL), then-Georgia House Representative Tom Graves, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
“Legislative entrepreneurs are tenacious political leaders who challenge the status quo and take bold action to advance liberty and limited government. We can thank Senator Liljenquist for the ground-breaking pension and entitlement reforms in Utah that are now the envy of states across the country, and serve as a model for the nation,” commented former House Majority Leader and FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey. “The fact of the matter is, while states like New York, Illinois and California are headed for bankruptcy, the financial future of Utah is secure because of Liljenquists’ reforms.”
In both Medicaid and pension reform, Liljenquist introduced free market principles into the most difficult spending issues in government and succeeded in passing his bills with a wide range of support. Not only did he develop unique solutions for these over-spending programs, he succeeded in putting these solutions into real action, to the benefit of all of Utah’s taxpayers.
The foremost example of Liljenquists’ legislative innovation is the bill he sponsored to take on Utah’s rising Medicaid costs, which increased the efficiency and capped the growth of Medicaid by changing the system from a fee-for-service into a managed care program. By linking doctors’ payments to their results of care, physicians are incentivized to achieve the best possible medical results at the least possible cost.
Liljenquist also tackled the ever-thorny issue of public employee pensions, changing Utah’s retirement plan from a defined-benefit plan into a defined-contribution plan. By giving workers ownership of their retirement plans and increased responsibility for contributing to their own retirements, he created a system that will ensure that Utah will be able to meet its financial commitments to its state workers regardless of economic downturns. He has also passed bills preventing employees from “double-dipping” in the pension fund, and doing away with the practice of automatically re-hiring state employees based on seniority.
“Truly, Dan Liljenquist is a shining example of the sort of “legislative entrepreneur” we need to lead the way for liberty across America. He showed true leadership by building a large coalition to pass politically challenging spending problems, while sticking to his principles. Washington could learn a thing or two from Liljenquist,” added Armey.