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Huntsman opts for money-saving inaugural

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Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is scaling back his second inauguration ceremony even more, opting for an outdoor event that won't cost taxpayers a dime and canceling plans for a celebration later.

The governor and the state's other four constitutional officers will be sworn in on the steps of the Capitol. There will be no seating for the Jan. 5 event, expected to be held around noon.

As the Deseret News reported last week, Huntsman had already decided on a more austere ceremony than he held four years ago at Abravanel Hall, because of the state's troubled economy.

"In times when budget constraints are affecting people, it is only appropriate to avoid expenses on a celebratory event," the governor said in a statement released Friday.

He said "this responsible approach is not intended to diminish the importance of the event, but to highlight the importance of government being responsive and reasonable."

None of the $130,000 set aside in the state budget for the inauguration will be used, Huntsman spokeswoman Lisa Roskelley said, one of the reasons the swearing-in is being moved from inside the Capitol rotunda.

"The reality is there are actually a lot of costs associated with putting on an event in the rotunda, with the production," Roskelley said. "This is going to be a much simpler ceremony."

The public is invited to see Huntsman, Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Auditor Auston Johnson and Treasurer Richard Ellis sworn in by Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine Durham.

A separate event to mark the inauguration that had yet to be announced has been canceled.

The swearing-in ceremony will be the first held at the Capitol since it was reopened earlier this year following a multi-year renovation project. Huntsman had to find an alternative site for his first swearing-in four years ago.

In addition to a lavish event at Abravanel Hall that featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and future "American Idol" finalist David Archuleta, Huntsman also held an interfaith service and a "Statehood Celebration" at the E Center in West Valley City.


E-mail: lisa@desnews.com