Collaboration On Capitol Hill Is The Key To Success
Utah’s “secret sauce” when it comes to economic growth, job creation, and security for our families has been the collaboration between the public and private sectors―particularly when it comes to our legislators at home and in Washington, DC. With that in mind, we have formally requested the assistance of Utah’s federal delegation and expertise in advancing common-sense legislation on key priorities that are important to our business community. They are namely, immigration, trade, healthcare, and infrastructure.
As a nation built by immigrants, the United States should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill who want to contribute to our communities. Immigration is a key component of keeping our economy strong, strengthening our communities, and ensuring a bright and prosperous future for our children, but our current broken immigration system will lead to economic uncertainty. We urge Utah’s federal delegation to lead the way in advancing comprehensive immigration reform consistent with the principles included in the Utah Compact.
Immigrants make up one in nine members of our state’s workforce, and limiting legal immigration would reduce Utah’s GDP growth by $686 million in 2028. Immigration reform will ensure that our business community has the skilled workforce necessary to compete. As such, we urge Utah’s federal delegation to advance comprehensive immigration reform consistent with the Utah Compact principles and to advance the H1-B Visa reform legislation.
With more than 3,500 Utah companies competing in the global market, trade is critical to Utah’s economy and essential to the success of our state’s small businesses. Exports contributed 8 percent to Utah’s GDP in 2018 and supported 22 percent of all Utah jobs. Global trade does more than just create and support jobs; it also helps retain a skilled workforce through competitively higher wages.
Utah businesses need free markets and fair trading practices built on balanced agreements that sustain economic growth through stable and predictable relationships. We ask Congress to ratify the United States, Mexico, and Canada trade agreement and use its available means to accelerate the development of trade agreements with the European Union and China, among others.
Health and entitlement reform
Currently, our healthcare systems and entitlement programs are falling short when it comes to providing simple, affordable, accessible, and high-quality services to Americans. High costs and low health market options undermine an employers’ ability to strengthen their workforce, expand the economy, plan for the future, and create long-term fiscal stability. They hinder the ability of our families to be self-reliant and secure from accidents or illnesses. As part of our federal priorities, we call upon Congress to revise our entitlement and healthcare programs to provide equitable, efficient services to those who need them most, and to address our nation’s prevalent opioid epidemic.
Nine years ago, as part of the Affordable Care Act, Congress enacted a 2.3 percent excise tax on all medical devices. While lawmakers have voted to suspend the tax since that time, it is slated to go back into effect at the end of the year, creating considerable uncertainty in a sector that has supported strong economic and job growth across our state and the nation. Enacting a permanent repeal of the medical device tax will ensure that Utah can continue to be a hub of medical innovations and economic opportunity.
Additionally, we urge Congress to carry out its responsibilities and put a federal legal framework into place to allow for timely and responsible medical cannabis treatment. We need federal guidelines that allow us to safeguard the public interest, address potential consequences to the business community, as well as guard against an impaired workforce or other negative outcomes.
Infrastructure is the backbone of the American economy. It gets us to work and school while powering our homes and businesses, and makes transporting goods and services possible. Attending to America’s infrastructure should be an issue with strong bipartisan support. Unfortunately, much of our nation’s infrastructure hasn’t been fully funded in decades. Long-term transportation and infrastructure investment are required to sustain our economic growth and competitiveness.
We urge Congress to enact and fund a bipartisan plan for infrastructure modernization, as well as provide a long-term, stable funding source for infrastructure that states across America can rely upon to plan for the future. We are grateful for our federal delegation’s support and the efforts they make to move their colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives forward on these issues.
Utah’s economy benefits from a delegation that is business-friendly and committed to improving our nation and state. We encourage them to utilize the “secret sauce” of collaboration and work across the aisle to find solutions to these pressing challenges.