July 2, 2012

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Built to Lead

Perhaps no Utah governor in modern memory comes to the office with a broad...Read More

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Article

GOED's Toolbox

The One-Stop Shop for Business Support

Gaylen Webb

July 2, 2012

GOED operates nine regional PTAC offices around the state. The centers offer free, one-on-one counseling and group workshops to Utah small businesses. In 2010, PTAC helped Utah companies win over $500 million in government contracts.

Utah is also deploying cutting-edge tools to help companies tackle deep-rooted problems like the rising cost of health insurance premiums. The State has developed and implemented the nation’s most comprehensive health insurance exchange portal—the Utah Health Exchange.

The internet-based Exchange is a market-driven portal that allows employers to offer their employees a “defined contribution” or specified amount of pretax dollars set aside for the purchase of an employee-selected health plan from a menu of various plans and prices. This allows employees, rather than employers, to compare and select the health plan that works best for their individual needs.

 “The value of the Exchange to small business owners is two-fold: first, owners choose the dollar amount they can afford to contribute to employees, which keeps costs predictable year over year; second, healthcare is always a large driver for attracting and retaining high-quality employees. The Exchange keeps businesses competitive, both in regards to their bottom line and in finding top talent,” says Patty Connor, Director of GOED's Office of Consumer Health Services, which manages the Exchange.

By statute, all plans offered through the Exchange must meet federal standards for employer-sponsored coverage.

Toolset: Responsible Recruitment
With a robust set of tools for helping local companies in one drawer of the toolbox, GOED has stocked another drawer with valuable devices for attracting and assisting companies that want to begin doing business or expand their current operations in the State.

Government-sponsored incentives, for instance, are often a crucial factor in business site selection. Utah offers an ample variety of incentive options—all of which are performance based. Incentives can be received in the form of tax credits or grants to businesses based upon three criteria:

  • Post-performance. The incentives are disbursed after the business has met contractual performance benchmarks such as job creation and payment of new state taxes.
  • Single Taxpayer. Incentive amounts are based upon new state taxes generated by the project.
  • Competition. The incentive must make Utah competitive with other locations.

Six post-performance incentives are available to businesses looking to locate or expand operations in Utah, along with funds for employee training (which the state's colleges and applied technology centers administer). The incentives are:

  • Economic Development Tax Increment Financing (EDTIF)
  • Renewable Energy Development Incentives (REDI)
  • Private Activity Bonds
  • Utah Recycling Market Development Zones
  • Life Science and Technology Tax Credits
  • Motion Picture Incentive Program (MPIP)

All of these incentives offer unique ways to attract and retain businesses. As one example, the Motion Picture Incentive Program (MPIP) has proved wildly successful in drawing film and television productions to the State. After spending seven months in Utah, including approximately 45 days of filming, the Disney/Pixar live-action version of John Carter generated approximately $28 million and 200 jobs for the Utah economy.

Administered by the Utah Film Commission, which is part of GOED, the MPIP offers qualifying production companies up to 25 percent of total dollars spent in the state back in the form of post-performance cash rebates or refundable tax credits.

“The ability to offer either a cash rebate or a tax credit to all different types of filmmakers has increased our production pipeline and has proved to be a great benefit for the local film community and the many businesses that support the industry," says Marshall Moore, Director of the Utah Film Commission.

Many visitors to Utah are first introduced to the state through films like John Carter and 127 Hours. The Utah Office of Tourism operates an aggressive, multi-faceted marketing program to entice new visitors to the State. One aspect of that is its Cooperative Marketing Program, which has a mission to leverage state and co-op partner funding to attract out-of-state visitors. To achieve that mission, the UOT will match up to $175,000 in out-of-state marketing dollars. Destination marketing organizations and non-profit entities in existence for one year or more are eligible to apply.

In 2011, members of the Utah Board of Tourism Development approved 28 of 32 Cooperative Marketing applications from non-profit tourism entities totaling more than $1.5 million to promote the state to out-of-state visitors.

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