Here Are The Salt Lake Chamber’s Federal Priorities In 2018
Every year, the Salt Lake Chamber has the opportunity to share the business community’s key federal priorities with our elected representatives during our annual trip to Washington D.C. The individual meetings held with each member of Congress allow us to express how their action on these priorities will have a direct, positive impact on our state’s small businesses, labor force, and competitive economy. Here are the Salt Lake Chamber and the business community’s 2018 federal priorities:
As a nation of immigrants, the United States should always be a place that welcomes people of good will and our laws should reflect our shared values. That’s why we urge Utah’s federal delegation to lead the way in advancing comprehensive immigration reform consistent with the principles included in the Utah Compact: strengthen families, support economic growth, focus law enforcement efforts on serious crime, and uphold our values as a free society.
The critical need for immigration reform is felt acutely among businesses, especially within Utah’s tight labor market. Immigrants make up one in nine Utah workers and are essential to every sector of our economy. Immigration reform will assist in continuing economic growth and providing the predictability businesses need to ensure they have the skilled workforce necessary to compete.
Now is the time to act on immigration reform to better serve the nation’s economic interests. Doing so will strengthen our workforce, enhance our small business ecosystem, improve our local communities and renew America’s legacy of being an open and welcoming country.
Utah is a globally minded and internationally sophisticated state. In fact, we are the only state that can boast positive export growth throughout the last recession and one whose exports have doubled over the past ten years.
Utah businesses need free markets, fair trading practices, as well as the stability and predictability that come with strong trade agreements. We rely on our elected leaders to make good trade agreements that can be used as a stable foundation for business dealings overseas. The Salt Lake Chamber asks Congress to assert its role in modernizing NAFTA as well as ensuring that a legal framework is in place if other trade agreements, like the TPP or the TTIP, are pulled. Our small businesses need rule-based trading, and they look to the US Government and members of Congress to establish rules that give them the predictability and stability needed to be successful.
Health & Entitlement Reform
Health care is a consistent concern for businesses. High costs and low health market options constrain an employer’s ability to strengthen their workforce, expand the economy, and in turn create long-term fiscal stability. Currently, our health systems and entitlement programs neglect to provide simple, affordable, accessible, and high-quality services to Americans. Congress and the private sector must act together to promote alternative systems and solutions.
We call upon Congress to continue the work of tax reform by revising our entitlement and health care programs in order to provide equitable, efficient services to those who need it most. This will ensure Utah maintains its competitive, thriving economy.
Small business is the lifeblood of Utah’s economy and should not be held back by unnecessary regulations. While regulations to ensure workplace safety and protect public health are necessary, compliance costs, complex rules, and a $2 trillion price tag clearly prove that our small business regulatory system isn’t working the way it should. Utah deserves a regulatory system that is fair for everyone. One that takes into account the views of communities and businesses, evaluates the impact these rules will have on jobs and small businesses, and protects our economic and personal freedoms.
In addition, infrastructure, energy, and medical cannabis are all top of mind. Congress should act to provide a long-term, stable funding source that states can rely upon to plan for the future. Congress should also investigate leveraging up to $250 billion in private capital to accelerate our nation’s much-needed infrastructure projects.
Congress should work to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio, modernize our energy policies, and promote energy independence.
Finally, we urge federal lawmakers to quickly put into place a legal framework that allows for medical cannabis research and responsible medical cannabis treatment. One that safeguards the public interest and addresses potential impacts to the business community, such as banking and insurance regulation, and an impaired workforce.
Now is the time to act and we, as representatives of Utah’s business community and members of the Salt Lake Chamber, stand ready to assist our Federal Delegation in their efforts.