2015 Policy Guide Release

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Today, Utah’s business community called on the state legislature to seize the opportunity to make investing in Utah’s future economic success a priority.

This call to action is outlined in the Salt Lake Chamber‘s updated 2015 Public Policy Guide that was released to the public at a gathering of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Executive Committee and other key business and community leaders at the Utah State Capitol.

The guide discusses critical issues facing Utah’s economy and business community, but highlights the importance of a landmark ongoing investment in education and continued investment in transportation.

“There are many issues facing our state. However, today we as a business community are here to focus our support behind what we believe are the two most critical issues facing Utah’s future growth—education and transportation” says Lane Beattie, president and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber.

“Business leaders have never been more united and focused on improving education in Utah,” said Alan Hall managing director, Mercanto Partners and chair, Prosperity 2020. “Invest now or pay later. Neglecting education now will have a lasting negative impact on our economy. Utah students are losing ground nationally and rank poorly among states.”

The 2015 Public Policy Guide builds on the five-year plan for education, “Prosperity Through Education—The innovation, accountability and investment plan for Utah’s future” Released last fall. This plan includes strategic investments to get Utah back into the top-10 states for education.

The 2015 Public Policy Guide highlights Utah’s Unified Transportation plan, a consensus based plan by our state’s transportation experts, shows that there are obligations that are neglected and therefore Utah will face an $11.3 billion gap by 2040. Fueling this deficit is a motor fuel tax that has not been addressed since 1997.

The Chamber and Utah Transportation Coalition did not take any formal position on transportation funding, only emphasizing that a comprehensive approach that addresses the vital needs for state and local roads, as well as transit and active transportation, were needed. However, the business leaders did express support for increasing and reforming transportation user fees as innovative way to regain and preserve purchasing power.

As in past sessions, these priorities have collided on Capitol Hill as business leaders stressed unity and pushed for a collaborative effort in the coming years to modernize and improve Utah’s tax structure and fiscal policy.

“For many years some folks have try to pit education against transportation. Not today,” said David R. Golden, executive vice president, Wells Fargo and Chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition. “Investment requires sacrifice and we need to step up to the challenge to address these critical needs for our future economy.

You can download the 2015 Public Policy Guide here.

Natural Resources and Environment

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

The 2015 Public Policy Guide will be released prior to the upcoming legislative session; the policy team will release a series of weekly broad based policy topics that will be featured in the new guide.

The 2015 Public Policy Guide strives to obtain community prosperity through investment and will address Utah’s utilization of natural resources and environment.

Utah has inherited spectacular natural resources and environment that help support our growing economy. Utah’s irreplaceable natural environment provides recreational opportunities that increase tourism and quality of life, thus attracting new companies and employees to strengthen our economy. We will support and partner with the Office of Outdoor Recreation, Office of Global Branding, Tourism and Film and other key partners to support and foster growth in the tourism sector of our economy. Utah’s environment is essential to maintaining our business climate and supporting our community, therefore we must thoughtfully balance economic interests.

Utah has vast and diverse energy and mineral resources ensures access to reasonably priced energy, creates jobs, supports rural economic development and provides a solid foundation for broader economic strength. We support policies that encourage and facilitate appropriate energy and mineral production and that preserve and strengthen Utah’s competitive advantages.

Our air quality also has lasting implications on our state’s ability to retain and attract new businesses and employees. Utah must increase transportation funding and increase funding to expand public transit and active transit to decrease idling cars, increase public transit usage and clean our air. The Chamber has taken an active role by implementing several public education campaigns to increase public awareness throughwww.choices4cleanair.com and http://www.utahtransportation.org.

We support continued efforts in promoting water conservation, including reducing per-capita consumption by 25 percent by the year 2025 (as compared to the year 2000). We will strongly promote the best practices and innovation in water utilization for businesses.Utah’s economy will achieve prosperity through responsible investments in utilizing its natural resources and environment.

Additional information concerning the Chamber’s policy priorities and the release of the guide will be available in the upcoming weeks. The guide will be released on January 22.

Infrastructure and Transportation

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

The 2015 Public Policy Guide will be released prior to the upcoming legislative session; the policy team has released a series of weekly broad based policy topics that will be featured in the new guide.

The upcoming 2015 Public Policy Guide strives to obtain community prosperity through investment by focusing on infrastructure and transportation. As Utah’s population is expected to grow by 60% in the next thirty years, it is important to have a comprehensive transportation plan to ensure continual mobility and support our growing economy, as well as sustain a reliable water supply and energy infrastructure to support the anticipated growth in population and ensure future prosperity.

Utah needs to secure long-term transportation infrastructure funding to support the continual growth of our economy. Our transportation infrastructure has lasting implications on our ability to attract and retain business. It is important to strategically invest in transportation to preserve infrastructure, ensure optimal mobility and safety, and strengthen Utah’s economy.

Utah must ensure quality of life by developing a state water strategy to continue to meet our long-term water needs, protect our current water resources and make disciplined investments concerning future water infrastructure to preserve our economy and business growth.

Abundant, affordable energy contributes directly to our quality of life and the strength of our economy. Utah must expand and modernize its energy infrastructure to take full advantage of existing and new sources of energy and to prepare for Utah’s future growth.  Additional information concerning the Chamber’s policy priorities and the release of the guide will be available in the upcoming weeks. The guide will be released on January 22.

Education, Workforce and Health Care

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

The 2015 Public Policy Guide will be released prior to the upcoming legislative session. The policy team will begin to release a series of weekly broad based policy topics that will be featured in the new guide.

The 2015 Public Policy Guide strives to obtain community prosperity through investment and will address Utah’s concerns about education, workforce and health care.

It is clear that educational achievement has direct correlation to economic progress. Utah ‘s pro business climate must be supported with a well-educated and healthy workforce. Utah is the only state in the nation with a median age under 30 and the highest percentage of its population under the age of 18. Utah must act to prepare the largest population of young people in the country to be among the most educated workforce in the nation. We must do more to keep pace with the growth of K-12 and higher education. Higher education compensation must be competitive in order to attract high quality instructors and researchers.

In order for Utah to continue to compete in a global economic arena the state must make a plan with innovative strategies, increased accountability and targeted investments towards education. A business is only as effective as it’s workforce. A well-educated workforce is essential to fuel our continually growing economy.

A healthy workforce is also necessary to ensure a productive business environment. Utah is 3rd in employer-sponsored coverage (ESI) and had the highest overall level of nonelderly ESI dependent coverage at 44.2% in 2010 and 2011. While Utah would not have chosen the difficult dilemma faced by the nation, action on the issue of the expansion of Medicaid coverage must be taken to respond to a significant flaw in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Utahns are paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxes in order to fund insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion occurring in other states. As one of the best managed, most fiscally prudent and business friendly states in the nation, Utah should embrace a solution that is flexible and embraces Utah’s self-determination attitude. Our community already benefit from a state health system that is the envy of the nation with the lowest health care spending per capita at $5,031. The innovations, efficiencies and talented workforce in Utah’s health care industry drive down costs and deliver better outcomes for our state.

We should pursue all available federal dollars to develop a flexible solution that strengthens a competitive, private insurance market, promotes individual accountability by those receiving assistance and prevents the state from being responsible for providing additional ongoing benefits if the federal government becomes unable or unwilling to support its promises. We believe these aims can be achieved through the innovative approach Governor Gary Herbert is proposing in Healthy Utah. Sound economic and moral principles drive good public policy.

The Governor’s 2015 proposed budget address the concerns of ensuring a prosperous economy through increased education funding and the Healthy Utah Medicaid expansion plan.  Protecting our present and future workforce will ensure future prosperity for Utah families. Additional information concerning the Salt Lake Chamber’s policy priorities for education health and workforce, as well as a number of other important topics will be will be available in the upcoming week with the release of the 2015 Public Policy Guide on January 22.

Public Policy – December Update

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Public Policy – December Update  

As Utah’s Statewide Chamber and the “Voice of Business”, the Salt Lake Chamber is a leader in  critical issues that impact Utah’s businesses and community. This is the monthly summary of the Chamber’s efforts to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah. We encourage new forms of involvement in the month of December and moving forward.

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Public Policy: Release date set – Jan. 22, 2015

With the legislative session upon us, the Salt Lake Chamber’s policy team is working to finalize policy positions for the January 22 release of the 2015 Public Policy Guide. The guide will focus on critical issues that impact Utah’s broader business community and help to drive community prosperity through investment. The policy guide is published annually and serves as the platform for the business community’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, desired action in Washington and other key community issues. The Policy Guide will address the following broad policy topics:

  • Business climate, taxes and regulation

  • Economic development, jobs and growth

  • Education, workforce and health care

  • Infrastructure and transportation

  • Natural resources and environment

The drafting of the Policy Guide has been a collaborative effort among members and the executive board with staff support to establish policy that represents Utah’s business community. Each of the policy committees, members and community partners also contribute to the guide. You can find the 2014 Public Policy Guide here.

If you have any questions or  comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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2015 Legislative Reception: Looking for sponsors

The Salt Lake Chamber will host its annual Legislative Reception on February 4, 2015. The Legislative Reception is a unique opportunity to interact with policymakers, business leaders and select guests including Gov. Gary Herbert, members of the Utah State Legislature and other local officials during the 2015 General Legislative Session.

Last year’s event hosted over 400 attendees making the legislative reception a premier opportunity for Utah’s top policy and business professionals.  The reception also offers a unique high-profile sponsorship opportunity during the peak of the legislative session.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Prosperity 2020: Business Community Sets 5-year plan for education

Governor Herbert’s annual budget proposal targets $500 billion dollars of new money into Utah’s public and higher education systems. The proposal supports many of the key recommendations in the five-year “Prosperity through Education” plan developed by Prosperity 2020 and Education First. The Governor’s recommendation allocates $310 million in ongoing funds, of which $70 million go towards higher education. In addition, Governor Herbert proposes $190 million in one-time money to go towards education.

Our efforts to “move the dial” on education will focus on adoption and implementation of the five-year plan. The business community also commissioned a report by the Utah Foundation that provides information about policies that may be used to increase Utah’s college completion rates (one objective from the plan).  Additionally, the groups have been working with researchers to identify revenue options that might prove to be sustainable and efficient sources of ongoing funds for education.The report can be viewed here.

Take action in support of education in Utah, by visiting EducationFirstUtah.org.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Jana Scott at  jscott@prosperity2020.com, or  Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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Utah Transportation Coalition: A better Utah down the road

The business community believes now is the time to address comprehensive and sustainable transportation funding. Over the past two years, the Utah Legislature has studied the needs and funding options for closing the $11.3 billion deficit in transportation funding needed from now to 2040. We cannot back away from our long-standing conservative approach to prudent and wise investment in this critical economic infrastructure.

During the next few months the Utah Transportation Coalition will be embarking on a statewide public awareness campaign on the need for investment in our transportation infrastructure. To join the Coalition or learn more please visit www.utahtransportaiton.org. The next Utah Transportation Coalition meeting will be held Thursday January 8.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Natural Resources Business Council

The Governor’s Office of Energy Development, announced the launch of their new website www.utahdriveselectric.org focusing on aiding current electric vehicle owners by providing up-to-date information on the increasingly popular technology, as well as educating Utahns about the many benefits of owning an electric vehicle. The website also serves as a resource for electric vehicle owners to locate charging stations around the state. The next Natural Resource Business Council meeting will be held on  Wednesday, February 11.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Clean Air Task Force

Earlier this month, the Clean Air task force hosted the fourth annual Clean Air Summit: Business Case for Clean Air. The event highlighted solutions for cleaner air, challenges we face, why clean air matters to Utah businesses and why it is a top public policy priority of the Chamber.

In addition the Utah Transportation Coalition unvieled a new educational website www.choices4cleanair.com/ the website allows the public to display their support for improved transportation networks, active transportation and transit systems.

The Summit also marks the launch of a second year, private sector led, Inversion Mitigation Initiative. The Inversion Mitigation Initiative is a partnership of the Salt Lake Chamber and UCAIR, supported by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and TravelWise.  This initiative calls on the collective power of the business community to make a difference during the inversion season.  In its first year, the initiative had 68 companies participate, representing nearly 70,000 employees, all whom committed to various emission reduction strategies. If you are interested in partnering with the business community by committing to the Inversion Mitigation contact cleanair@slchamber.com. The next Clean Air Task Force meeting will be held Tuesday, January 6.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at (801) 328-5063 or REvans@slchamber.com.

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Energy and Minerals

The Energy and Minerals task force reviewed the 2015 Public Policy Guide text and gave input to the staff for the Executive Board’s consideration. The task force also received an update from the Utah Office of Energy Development on their efforts. Specifically, the office is working on energy and minerals curriculum with the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining as well as the State Institutional Trust Lands administration.The next Energy and Minerals Task Force meeting will be held Wednesday, January 14.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Water: Water Task Force

This month the Water Task Force Chairs, Craig Wagstaff and Rob Moore, sat down with several major water districts to review future steps in water efforts and ways to partner. The major water districts provide 85% of Utah’s population with water, and their partnership is essential to moving forward with the Chamber’s water positions.  We also appreciate the partnership with the metropolitan water district water conservation.

The Task Force has begun to draft the 2015 work plan; with new objectives that feature new conservation goals for businesses, prioritizing the creation of a comprehensive state water strategy and plans to host another Utah| Water is Your Business, water conservation week. In addition, the Deseret News recently summarized many of the efforts in regard to water issues. The article can be viewed here. The next Water Task Force meeting will be held on Thursday, January 15.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Outdoor Recreation & Tourism

The Chamber remains actively engaged in key issues related to outdoor recreation and tourism including the Mountain Accord process. We are also an active supporter of the Utah Office of Outdoor recreation which just announced the dates for the 2015 Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. You can register for the 2015 Summit Here: http://www.utahsummit.com/outdoor/

This Summit is an inspiring and insightful statewide initiative planned in conjunction with the outdoor industry, counties, communities, user groups, and state and federal land management agencies. The 2014 Outdoor Recreation Summit was a tremendous success with more than 400 outdoor industry, county and city leaders and user groups gathered, with state and federal land management agencies, to actively discuss issues surrounding Utah’s outdoor recreation.

Please contact Tara McKee at the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation at (801) 538-8686 or tmckee@utah.gov.

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Downtown Alliance: Downtown still rising

Building on the momentum created last year when Salt Lake City and Phoenix tied to become the first cities in the nation to end chronic homelessness among veterans, Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams joined forces this week to bring community leaders together to work on a new and equally ambitious homeless issue. They’ve created the Homeless Services Site Evaluation Committee.

This committee, co-chaired by Gail Miller and former Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis, will evaluate and consider the best configurations and locations for shelter and other emergency homeless services and assemble a recommendation report to help shape the future of these facilities in Salt Lake City.

Committee members have been identified and a letter inviting them to serve was sent this week. The committee will hold its first meeting in January 2015 and is expected to meet approximately every six weeks. A tentative goal has been set for completing a set of recommendations/findings by late fall 2015.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Jesse Dean at (801) 328-5045 or jesse@downtownslc.org.

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Health System Reform

Every part of state government should maximize every taxpayer dollar. The Governor proposes returning hundreds of millions of Utah taxpayer dollars already being collected with his Healthy Utah plan. The business community believes leaving Utah’s hard-earned taxpayer dollars in Washington is not an option, and the Legislature should carefully consider and approve the Governor’s Healthy Utah proposal.

The Chamber and the business community have voiced their support towards Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah Medicaid expansion program.  You can view Lane Beattie’s full article here.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

Economic Development, Jobs and Growth

Monday, December 15th, 2014

The 2015 Public Policy Guide will be released prior to the upcoming legislative session. This post is part of a series of weekly broad based policy topics that will be featured in the new guide.

The upcoming 2015 Public Policy Guide strives to obtain community prosperity through investment by addressing economic development, jobs and growth. Utah continues to receive praises for our economic strength and pro-business climate.

Utah can arguably claim to have the premier economic development team in the nation with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Economic Development Corporation of Utah, World Trade Center Utah and our local, state federal officials all working toward growing our economy.

As we look forward to the next frontier of economic development and driving growth we must have a continued focus on critical areas such as life sciences, advanced manufacturing, software and IT development, aerospace and defense, logistics and distribution centers, and financial services.

Additionally, Utah’s economic perception and strength are also important to attract new business, help grow our workforce and fortify our economy.  Perceptions of Utah are an important component of our economic development success.

What’s next for our state? The Salt Lake Chamber plans to place an emphasis on driving innovation, workforce development, growing our international trade and ensuring we keep pro-business economic climate.

Additional information concerning the Salt Lake Chamber’s policy priorities for economic development, jobs and growth, as well as a number of other important topics will be will be available in the upcoming week with the release of the 2015 Public Policy Guide on January 22.

Business Climate, Taxes and Regulation

Monday, December 8th, 2014

The 2015 Public Policy Guide will be released prior to the upcoming legislative session; the policy team will begin to release a series of weekly broad based policy topics that will be featured in the new guide.

The upcoming 2015 Public Policy Guide focuses on driving community prosperity through investment and will address the critical issue of business climate, taxes and regulation. Utah has been among the top states for business for several years. In order to maintain a diverse business climate we must preserve low taxes and encourage effective regulations that help the business community not burden growth. The Chamber has made an active effort to collaborate with the federal and state delegations to improve regulations compliance and the relationship between regulation and economic development with the Chamber’s 2014 Solutions Summit and collaborating with elected leaders like Senator Hatch who will co-sponsor new regulatory reform legislation. View Senator Hatch’s speech about regulation here.

Utah has the ninth best state business tax climate and received the top spot for best regulations for small business in the nation. In 2011, Utah conducted a review of regulations effecting business by analyzing nearly 2000 regulations covering 99% of Utah’s provisions. The findings reflected 368 changes to cut red tape, improve efficiency, update code and add certainty for business. Utah needs comprehensive tax and regulatory reform to strengthen Utah’s economy and remain a top state for business. Additional information concerning the Chamber’s policy priorities and the release of the guide will be available in the upcoming weeks. The 2015 Public Policy Guide will be released on January 22.

Tell us about what issues your business is facing in regards to the regulator burden, taxes or Utah’s general business climate and what we can do better at policy@slchamber.com

2015 Public Policy Guide Anticipated Release

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

With the legislative session upon us, the Salt Lake Chamber’s policy team is working to finalize policy positions for the January 22 release of the 2015 Public Policy Guide. The annually anticipated policy guide serves as the platform for the business community’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, desired action in Washington and other key community issues. The Policy Guide will address the following broad policy topics:

• Business climate, taxes and regulation

• Economic development, jobs and growth

• Education, workforce and healthcare

• Infrastructure and transportation

• Natural resources and environment.

The drafting of the Policy Guide has been a collaborative effort among members and the executive board with staff support to establish policy that represents Utah’s business community. The 2015 Public Policy Guide will focus on critical issues that impact Utah’s business community and help to drive community prosperity through investment. Additional information concerning the chamber’s policy priorities and the release of the guide will be available on Twitter and Facebook in the upcoming weeks.

 

Public Policy – November Update

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Policy – November Update

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of November and beyond.

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Public Policy 

With the holidays upon us, The Salt Lake Chamber’s policy team is working to finalize 2015 policy positions for review by the Executive Board. As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s largest and oldest business association, the Salt Lake Chamber is a leader on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, this is how we plan to contribute and grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as opportunities for you to participate in the chamber for the month of November and beyond.

The Salt Lake Chamber’s executive board will be reviewing and approving the 2015 policy positions in for the 2015 Public Policy Guide. The public policy guide is published annually and serves as the platform for the business community’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, desired action in Washington and other key community issues. You can find the 2014 Public Policy Guide here.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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2015 Legislative Reception

The Salt Lake Chamber’s annual Legislative Reception will take place on February 4, 2015. The Legislative Reception is a unique opportunity to interact with policymakers, business leaders, and select guests including Gov. Gary Herbert, members of the Utah State Legislature and other local officials during the 2015 General Legislative Session. The event had over 400 attendees last year and is a must attend for Utah’s top policy and business professionals and is a unique high-profile sponsorship opportunity during the heat of the legislative session.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

Prosperity 2020: Business Community Sets 5-Year Plan for Education

On October 28, Prosperity 2020 and Education First co-hosted the Academic Excellence (AXL)conference to focus discussion on key drivers to elevate performance in education and debut a five-year plan to elevate Utah into the top ten states for education. Over two hundred and fifty education, government, business and community leaders, as well as parents, and the media attended the conference to hear Prosperity Through Education: the Innovation Accountability and Investment Plan for Utah’s Future.

The plan is a result of extensive collaboration and provides a framework to move Utah forward in reading, math, high school completion and post-high school certificates and degrees. Read the plan and take action in support of education in Utah, by visiting EducationFirstUtah.org.

Please contact Allyson Bell at abell@slchamber.com or Jana Scott jscott@prosperity2020.com for information.

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Utah Transportation Coalition: A better Utah down the road

The past week the Utah Transportation Coalition unveiled their statewide public education campaign to communicate the need for increased transportation infrastructure investment. David Golden, Chair of Utah Transportation Coalition, was joined by legislative, business and community leaders in Farmington to launch the coalition’s new campaign. In Addition David Golden addressed the Transportation Interim Committee this past week about the efforts to educate the community on long term transportation funding needs. For further information on the campaign visit http://utahtransportation.org/. The next Transportation Executive Committee meeting will be held December 11.

For more details visit www.utahtransportation.org or contact Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Natural Resources Business Council

The month, the Natural Resource Business council reviewed the respective priorities for natural resources and the environmental issues for the Salt Lake Chamber’s 2015 public policy guide. In addition, the council discussed new initiatives in the energy community with the launch of a new website that offers information on alternative fuel vehicles and an increase on K-12 education about energy. Expect more updates from the council in the upcoming weeks. The next Natural Resource Business Council meeting will be held December10.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Clean Air: 4th Annual Clean Air Summit Scheduled for Early December

The Clean Air Task Force will host the fourth annual Clean Air Summit “The Business Case for Clean Air” on December 4th.  The Summit will address impacts of air quality on our economy, benefits of clean air quality, what your company can do to be part of the solution, and the resources available to help your business make a difference. The Summit will feature speakers that will direct attention to the most important clean air issues facing Utah today. Registration is currently open for the event.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at (801) 328-5063 or REvans@slchamber.com.

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Energy and Minerals

The Energy Minerals Task Force returned from a successful Fall Energy Excursion to southeast Utah in late October. The Fall Energy Excursion was co-hosted by the Governor’s Office of Energy Development and allowed attendees to see key energy developments, infrastructure and connect with rural communities. The group had the opportunity to tour the Hunter Power Plant, as well a coal mine Emery County’s and discuss balanced development in Moab. We want to thank Kiewit, Rocky Mountain Power, the Moab Chamber of Commerce, and all the site visit hosts and speakers for their support. The Chamber plans to host another energy excursion to explore other areas of Utah in the upcoming future.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Water

President Barack Obama has appointed Holland & Hart Partner Jody Williams as Commissioner of the Bear River Commission. The Bear River Commission was created in 1958 pursuant to the Bear River Compact among the states of Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. The Commission comprises nine gubernatorial appointed Commissioners and one Federal Commissioner appointed by the President, who serves as its Chair. Jody is active member and key supporter the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah | Water is Your Business Initiative. The next water task force also met this month to review the 2015 Public Policy guide, discuss partnerships and work on the 2015 strategic work plan. The next task force meeting is the December 10th Natural Resources Business Council meeting.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Outdoor Recreation & Tourism

The Chamber remains actively engaged in key issues related to outdoor recreation and tourism including the Mountain Accord process. We are also a active support of the Utah Office of Outdoor recreation which just announced the dates for the 2015 Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

This summit is an inspiring and insightful statewide initiative planned in conjunction with the outdoor industry, counties, communities, user groups, and state and federal land management agencies.

The 2014 Outdoor Recreation Summit was a tremendous success with more than 400 outdoor industry leaders, county and city officials and user groups gathered, with state and federal land management agencies, to actively discuss issues surrounding Utah’s outdoor recreation.

Please contact Tara McKee at the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation at (801) 538-8686 or tmckee@utah.gov

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Health System Reform

The Health System Reform Task Force met and discussed further information regarding Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah Plan and had a conference call update from Katie Mahoney, Executive Director, Health Policy U.S. Chamber of Commerce on federal health care issues and Utah’s impact. Ms. Mahoney discussed the likelihood of repealing the ASA as reported by some members of Utah’s congressional delegation following the election and Senate majority shift. She was optimistic regarding a repeal of the medical device tax. She also talked with business leaders about the impending 2016 impacts of the definition of “small group markets” being redefined as 50 to 100 in 2016 and how that may impact Chamber members.

The next Health System Reform Task Force will meet December 18, 2014 and will have Patt Richard, President & CEO, SelectHealth discuss autism.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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Utah Business Leaders Reveal a Collaborative Five-year Plan to make Utah a Top Ten State in Education

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Plan focuses on reversing Utah’s downward trend in reading, math, high school completion and college degrees to ensure the state’s quality of life

 

Business and community leaders unveiled a five-year plan to elevate Utah into the top ten in U.S. educational systems, at an Academic Excellence conference held at the Grand America Hotel, Tuesday, Oct. 28. Business, education and opinion leaders collaborated on the plan that provides a framework to move Utah forward in reading, math, high school completion and post-high school certificates and degrees.

“Across America, the most vibrant economies put education first, and this five year plan is a big step in that direction in Utah,” said Richard Kendell, former commissioner of Higher Education and Education First board member. “Countless research shows that a person’s earning power and the economic strength of communities are directly tied to academic achievement. Consequently, our children’s education is critical for creating a legacy of prosperity for Utah.”

Utah’s education system is in on a downward trend according to some of Utah’s key academic metrics highlighted at the conference. For example, Utah’s standardized test scores have not fallen, but peer states have innovated and left Utah behind. Utah’s fourth grade students ranked 22nd in the national in math and reading, and eighth grade students ranked 27th in math and 13th in reading.

The plan, derived from extensive collaboration with educators and policymakers, includes the following goals to raise Utah to the top ten in five years:

1) Improve 4th and 8th grade math performance with technology devises, technology-based math assessment tools, endorsements and technology training for teachers, professional learning communities and STEM endorsements for teachers.

2) Improve 4th and 8th grade reading performance with K-3 reading curriculum, professional learning communities, voluntary pre-school, community schools, support for at-risk students and optional full-day kindergarten

3) Increase High School graduation rates with additional counselors and mentors, counselor training, student advocates, academic couches and tutors

4) Increase post-secondary certifications and degrees with rewards for colleges that increase completion rates; access and outreach initiatives for underserved students; programs that meet high-wage, high demand workforce needs; financial aid and scholarships for lower and middle income students

Governor Gary Herbert, businesswoman Gail Miller, and Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie voiced their support for education. Data show that young people who graduate high school and go on to achieve degrees and certifications, are more likely to become leaders, innovators and achievers, and are better prepared to support the growth of crucial business sectors including technology, science, health and medicine. Utah is globally recognized for its pro-business climate and remarkable economic recovery in recent years, but there is room for improvement. Much of Utah’s forecasted job growth is for low-wage jobs, Utah’s GDP has grown, but only modestly; Utah’s household income has stalled for the last 15 years; and of the state’s 20 largest employers, most are government and only four are private sector companies.

“In order to continue to be an economic powerhouse, Utah needs to make strategic investments and reforms,” said Beattie. “That is why we’re making the education of Utah’s children a top priority, by developing this five-year plan.”

The plan calls for an investment in education of $672.5 million over five years, which is described as affordable by collaborators.

The conference also featured compelling success stories by Utah and out-of-state educators who have innovated to boost academic achievement. Sara Krebs, M. Ed., Literacy Coordinator for Cache County School District, described the impact working in small groups can have in helping children achieve reading proficiency rates 10-20 points higher than the state. Gina Butters, principal of Roy High School spoke of the collaborative effort of elementary, junior high and high school staff to help more students graduate from high school. Melissa Miller Kincart, assistant commissioner for outreach access in the Utah System of Higher Ed, described the state’s innovative and nationally-recognized approach to training school counselors to better prepare students for college. David Pattinson, founder and CEO of David Pattinson’s American Future, a non-profit focused on developing solutions to youth unemployment, described his innovations to improve the career planning and development process for youth. And, Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University spoke, of his numerous, highly-cited studies on the effects of class size reduction, high-stakes accountability, value-added assessments of teacher quality and other education-related topics.

Alan Hall, chair of Prosperity 2020 summed up the day by saying, “This conference and five-year plan are a starting point for moving Utah’s academic achievement forward. The plan is a work in progress, and we welcome business owners, elected officials, educators and parents to get the plan, get involved, and get behind this movement to take Utah’s education system to the next level. We cannot be complacent. Our children and our children’s children deserve the very best.”

To read the plan and see video and written highlights of the conference, visit Educationfirstutah.org. To keep up to date on the top ten education movement, follow #UTED2Top10 and @Education1stUT on Twitter.