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Salt Lake City – The Salt Lake Chamber released its priorities for the upcoming General Legislative Session within the 2014 Public Policy Guide, which was presented to Speaker of the House Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser Wednesday morning. The guide outlines the chamber’s position on policy issues including economic development, education, transportation, water, energy and minerals, clean air, outdoor recreation and tourism, Downtown Rising, immigration, international competitiveness and small business.
“The 2014 Public Policy Guide is a chamber publication, but it represents the broad-based support of chambers of commerce across the state as well as other important business associations,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “These are the priorities of Utah’s diverse business sectors from across the state and it’s critical that we speak with one voice.”
Economic development and job creation is the cornerstone priority for Utah’s business community. The 2014 Public Policy Guide highlights and supports the "Your Utah, Your Future" quality growth strategy, initiated by Gov. Gary Herbert and Envision Utah, in taking the long-term view on public policy issues. The guide also outlines priorities that will facilitate economic growth and strengthen the economy, including a continued stance against general tax increases not supported by the public, a commitment to eliminating harmful regulation and a collaborative challenge to enhance Utah’s competitiveness through attracting regional corporate headquarters to the state.
An educated workforce has a direct correlation with economic prosperity and is a top priority for Utah’s business community. To be globally competitive, Utah must return to a top-10 state in overall education rankings. To meet this challenge, the chamber outlines key priorities to improve: 4th grade reading scores, 8th grade math scores, high school completion, college and career readiness, innovative teaching in public education, and Utah’s ability to reach 66 percent of Utahns with postsecondary degrees or certificates.
“Facing unprecedented growth, we need to ensure that the largest population of young people in the country will be deployed as the best-educated workforce, propelling Utah to enduring prosperity,” said Alan Hall, chair of Prosperity 2020, founder and co-managing director of Mercato Partners, and chairman of Marketstar.
Recent completions of major transportation initiatives have made Utah a national example in our commitment to disciplined planning and investment in transportation infrastructure. As one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, continued investments are critical to economic growth and accommodating future generations of Utahns.
The guide outlines support for a five-year action plan to fully fund Utah’s prioritized transportation needs identified in Utah’s 2040 Unified Transportation Plan. This action plan includes allowing local governments to address their urgent transportation challenges, investments to improve our transit system, and a call for the expansion and inflation-adjustment of user fees to meet critical needs.
“Investments in transportation infrastructure benefit every aspect of our economy,” said David Golden, co-chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition, and executive vice president and manager of Wells Fargo Commercial Banking Group’s Mountain Division. “The need for investment is critical and requires immediate action in order to sustain and enhance our world-class business and economic climate.”
Natural Resource Business Council
Utah’s spectacular natural environment is a legacy passed to us from preceding generations and is a key component of the state’s economy and high quality of life. The guide is the debut of the chamber’s Natural Resource Business Council, which represents a comprehensive approach to the state’s natural environment and important sectors of Utah’s economy. The chamber’s clean air and energy and minerals task forces, as well as two new chamber initiatives in water and outdoor recreation and tourism, are organized under the council.
The Natural Resource Business Council priorities include developing a long-term vision on Utah’s water needs, enhancing rural economic development, improving transportation options to Utah’s energy rich Uinta Basin, supporting Utah’s tourism marketing and addressing air quality issues.
Specifically, the guide highlights the chamber’s support for the PM2.5 State Implementation Plan, increased transportation funding to improve our transit system and reduce idling on Utah's roadways, cleaner vehicles, increased efforts for public awareness and research, and incentives to facilitate small businesses’ participation in emission reductions.
The 2014 Public Policy guide is available online at http://www.slchamber.com/PPG2014">www.slchamber.com/PPG2014