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Top Legislative Issues We’re Watching

Sarah Ryther Francom

February 1, 2012

With the 2012 legislative session underway, there are many issues that could potentially impact your business and Utah’s overall economic environment. The editorial team at Utah Business will be paying close attention to the diverse issues that affect the state’s business community, including the issues listed below. Watch for updates on these and other legislative issues reported in our UB Daily and look for in-depth features about many of these topics in future Utah Business issues.


USTAR: The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) was launched in 2006 with the ultimate goal to create 422 companies and 123,000 new jobs by 2036. Investment in the initiative has been reduced twice due to budget constraints. Proponents are aiming to increase USTAR’s annual funding to $16 million in 2012. Watch for an in-depth analysis of USTAR in our April issue.


Liquor: Restrictive caps on liquor licenses for businesses, a highly scrutinized DABC, the end of the so-called happy hour, and the closure of state liquor stores are all hot-button items being discussed this session. Groups like the Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Hospitality Association are calling for liquor law modernization, arguing that modernization would lead to a welcoming climate for tourism and business recruitment efforts. Watch for a detailed report of Utah’s ever-changing liquor laws in our April issue.


Immigration: Always a divisive topic, immigration issues such as E-Verify and last year’s highly debated HB116, Utah’s guest worker law, will take the stage again this session. E-Verify, which requires employers with 15 or more employees to verify legal status of new hires, is slated to be discussed again this session. Utah’s guest worker law, which is scheduled to go into effect July 2013, will be examined with many modifications already proposed.


Sales Tax: Utah’s chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is calling for the elimination of the tangible personal property tax and sales tax on fees, arguing that the tax code is too strenuous for small business owners. An interim legislative committee will be examining the tax code this session.


Tourism: Utah’s Tourism Marketing Performance Fund (TMPF), which aims to market and advertise tourism outside of the state, has experienced funding cuts in recent years. Groups like the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition and Utah Hotel and Lodging Association are looking for increased funding, arguing that the TMPF is vital to building the state’s $6.5 billion tourism industry.


Other issues we’ll be keeping a close eye on include Medicare, education, the Fund of Funds and more. We strive to make each issue of Utah Business meaningful, compelling and educational, and we’re looking forward to covering the issues that greatly impact Utah’s business community. If there are topics you’d like to see us address, please let us know.



From the Editor


Sarah Ryther Francom

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