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Republican Karl Snow says voters may not find "great differences" between his stands on the issues and those of his GOP opponent, John Harmer, but they will find differences "in our backgrounds and who is best for this district."

Snow leads Harmer in the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll. That situation will change, Harmer says, once 3rd District voters get to know him - and Harmer says there are considerable differences in their stands on issues.Snow hopes voters do get to know Harmer, especially his "background," as Snow refers to Harmer's financial troubles, past and present, and the fact that Harmer lived in California for a number of years.

Snow, a former BYU administrator, announced his basic campaign platform in a news conference Tuesday in the Utah Senate Chambers where Snow served 12 years. He said he's not going to personally "debate or discuss his (Harmer's) financial or tax problems." Snow says others will talk about those issues.

Harmer filed for personal bankruptcy in 1981. Several lawsuits were filed against Harmer recently seeking payments on overdue loans. He's since settled those loans, he says, and has come through the personal "humiliation and fire" of bankruptcy to own controlling stock in a multimillion-dollar Provo software company, Eyring Inc., where he serves as chairman.

Not all the troubles are past, however. Last week, the Deseret News reported that the Internal Revenue Service contends Harmer owes more than $327,000 in back income taxes. Harmer is contesting those taxes, saying they are really owed by a company he was associated with in the 1980s and not by him personally. He'll have a detailed response to those tax troubles later, Harmer said.

"We may not disagree on many of the issues," said Snow in announcing his platform. "I'm conservative enough for 3rd District voters. While in the Utah Senate, I sponsored the state's abortion law, our anti-pornography law - one of the toughest in the nation.

"I'm not what you may call an ultra-conservative. I'm not going to try to out-conservative anyone in this race. I'm best (for the district) because I know the players on the state and local levels. I know the rural issues better. I'm better prepared and there are no concerns about my past.

"I'm the conservative you can trust in this (Republican) race," Snow said.

Harmer says Snow is trying to become a "born-again conservative, but we're not going to let him do that - the people will know of Karl's record.

"A clear analysis of what each of us has stood for will show that I am much more in harmony with the majority of people in this district."

Harmer says Snow is trying to change his stripes. "He's said before that he's a moderate Republican. What he really is is an eastern-establishment liberal, and his voting record (in the Utah Senate) shows that."

Not only are there differences on the issues, said Harmer, but a real difference in approach. "He is passive. I'm very active in how I attack an issue."

In speaking about his platform, Snow said he won't support an income tax hike in an effort to balance the federal budget. However, he might accept some other kind of "revenue enhancements" that Republican President Bush may suggest. Snow makes no "read-my-lips" pledge not to raise any taxes. He wants the capital-gains tax reduced and supports a research and development tax credit.

He opposes Rep. Wayne Owens' five-million-acre wilderness bill. In fact, Snow wants the current wilderness study law repealed because it requires de facto wilderness of more than three million study acres. "We should start with zero wilderness area and work up to an agreeable, sensible acreage."

Snow favors a constitutional balanced budget amendment, a line-item veto for the president and reducing the federal deficit through reduced spending, not increased taxation. He wants congressional franking privileges - free mailing - limited, and will fight governmental waste and elimination of programs "inconsistent with our moral values."

He'll promote American high technology, especially the shifting of pure research in the National Science Foundation toward turning technology into marketable products.

"I will oppose legislation that would threaten the family or the sanctity of human life. I will oppose programs that use taxpayer dollars to provide contraceptive devices or abortion counseling." Snow believes abortion regulation belongs on the state level, he opposes abortion except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.

Snow says his campaign's executive committee will consist of former Treasury Secretary David Kennedy, 3rd District Rep. Howard Nielson, Utah House Assistant Majority Whip Byron Harwood and Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins.