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.