The 2014 Public Policy Guide and business priorities released

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

The Salt Lake Chamber released the business community’s priorities for the upcoming General Legislative Session within the 2014 Public Policy Guide. The Public Policy Guide was presented to the speaker of the House of Representatives Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser Wednesday morning. The guide outlines the Chamber’s position on policy issues including economic development, education, transportation, water, energy and minerals, clean air, outdoor recreation and tourism, Downtown Rising, immigration, international competitiveness, and small business.

“The 2014 Public Policy Guide is a Chamber publication, but it represents the broad-based support of chambers of commerce across the state as well as other important business associations,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “These are the priorities of Utah’s diverse business sectors from across the state and it’s critical that we speak with one voice.”

View and download the 2014 Public Policy Guide PDF here.

Economic Development 
Economic development and job creation is the cornerstone priority for Utah’s business community. The 2014 Public Policy Guide highlights and supports the “Your Utah, Your Future” quality growth strategy, initiated by Gov. Gary Herbert and Envision Utah, in taking the long-term view on public policy issues. The guide also outlines priorities that will facilitate economic growth and strengthen the economy, including a continued stance against general tax increases not supported by the public, a commitment to eliminating harmful regulation and a collaborative challenge to enhance Utah’s competitiveness through attracting regional corporate headquarters to the state.

“Utah’s economy is extremely well-positioned for continued growth in 2014. The private-sector is set to accomplish the significant goal of creating 150,000 jobs since the recession–more than a year ahead of schedule,” said Natalie Gochnour, chief economist of the Salt Lake Chamber and associate dean of the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business. “However, Utah’s economy faces economic headwinds from our nation’s capital and risks economic hardship if we do not address our education system and transportation infrastructure.”

Prosperity 2020
An educated workforce has a direct correlation with economic prosperity and is a top priority for Utah’s business community. To be globally competitive, Utah must return to a top-10 state in overall education rankings. To meet this challenge, the Chamber outlines key priorities to improve: 4th grade reading scores; 8th grade math scores; high school completion and college and career readiness; innovative teaching in public education; and Utah’s ability to reach 66 percent of Utahns with postsecondary degrees or certificates.

“Investing in our children is the best investment we can make as a community,” said Alan Hall, Chair ofProsperity 2020, founder and co-managing director of Mercato Partners, and chairman of Marketstar. “Facing unprecedented growth, we need to ensure that the largest population of young people in the country will be deployed as the best educated workforce, propelling Utah to enduring prosperity.”

Prosperity 2020 and the business community, through school-business partnerships, can improve school environments and boost outcomes for students. In addition to advocacy, the Utah business community has developed partnerships that support our education system and improve outcomes. The guide highlights how businesses across the state are becoming directly involved in the educational success of Utah’s children through a myriad of partnerships, including tutoring students, volunteering in classrooms, sponsoring activities, advising programs of study, providing internships and funding scholarships.

“Utah’s business leaders understand the urgency of addressing our education challenges,” said Beattie. “As a strong backer of the Prosperity 2020 movement, we are very supportive of the priorities and commitment of the Legislature’s Education Taskforce and will work to make these policies a reality.”

Transportation
Recent completions of major transportation initiatives have made Utah a national example in our commitment to disciplined planning and investment in transportation infrastructure. As one of the fastest growing states in the nation, continued investments are critical to economic growth and accommodating future generations of Utahns.

“Our community continues to rapidly grow,” said H. David Burton, co-chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition.  “We must act now to ensure future generations can enjoy economic prosperity and a high quality of life.”

The guide outlines support for a five-year action plan to fully fund Utah’s prioritized transportation needs identified in Utah’s 2040 Unified Transportation Plan. This action plan includes allowing local governments to address their urgent transportation challenges, investments to improve our transit system, and a call for the expansion and inflation-adjustment of user fees to meet critical needs.

“Investments in transportation infrastructure benefit every aspect of our economy,” said David Golden, co-chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition, and executive vice president and manager of Wells Fargo Commercial Banking Group’s Mountain Division. “The need for investment is critical and requires immediate action in order to sustain and enhance our world-class business and economic climate.”

Natural Resource Business Council
Utah’s spectacular natural environment is a legacy passed to us from preceding generations and is a key component of the state’s economy and high quality of life. The guide is the debut of the Chamber’s Natural Resource Business Council, which represents a comprehensive approach to the state’s natural environment and important sectors of Utah’s economy. The Chamber’s clean air and energy and minerals task forces, as well as two new Chamber initiatives in Water and Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, are organized under the Council.

“Utah’s natural resources provide Utah families with unparalleled life quality and economic opportunities,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “We owe future generations our best stewardship efforts to ensure they enjoy the same advantages we now enjoy.”

The Natural Resource Business Council priorities include developing a long-term vision on Utah’s water needs, enhancing rural economic development, improving transportation options to Utah’s energy rich Uinta Basin, supporting Utah’s tourism marketing and addressing air quality issues.

Specifically, the guide highlights the Chamber’s support for: the PM2.5 State Implementation Plan, increased transportation funding to improve our transit system and reduce idling on Utah’s roadways, cleaner vehicles, increased efforts for public awareness and research, and incentives to facilitate small businesses’ participation in emission reductions.

“Air quality for many Utahns’ is the state’s most pressing issue,” said Beattie. “Clean air makes good business sense and the Utah business community is committed to being a champion for improving our air quality.”

The 2014 Public Policy guide is available online at www.slchamber.com/PPG2014.

Here are some photos from the event where we presented speaker of the House of Representatives Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser:

Chamber hosts county mayoral Candidate Forum

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

The Salt Lake Chamber hosted the second Candidate Forum on Thursday morning, moderated by Chamber’s Chief Economist and Executive Vice President of Policy and Communications Natalie Gochnour.

This week it was the Salt Lake County mayoral candidates behind the table. Mark Crockett (R) and Ben McAdams (D) talked about various topics, including:

- how to maintain and improve efficiency of the triple-A bond rated Salt Lake County budget
- the idea of having a convention hotel, continued investment in the Salt Palace and the convention industry in Salt Lake for the long run
- how the county should be involved in public education’s quality and funding
- the possible incorporation of Millcreek
- how the county will pay for human services with federal funds shrinking
- air quality

The Salt Lake Chamber advocates policies that strengthen the Utah economy. From time to time, the Chamber hosts candidate forums that provide an opportunity for business leaders to ask questions of candidates in high-priority races. The Chamber does not endorse candidates but actively encourages dialogue between business leaders and candidates.

To see photos from this year’s Candidate Forums, check out our Flickr account.

Chamber hosts gubernatorial Candidate Forum

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

The Salt Lake Chamber hosted the first of four Candidate Forums on Thursday morning, moderated by Chamber’s general counsel & executive vice president of government relations, Wesley Smith.

Governor Gary Herbert (R) and his challenger Peter Cooke (D) were joined by business leaders as the candidates talked about their views on issues important to the business community.

The two candidates discussed topics including:

- education, how we can reach the goals of Prosperity 2020
- health system reform and whether or not Utah should accept a pending Medicaid expansion
- clean air and the role of businesses and individuals in enhancing air quality
- state budget and tax policy issues

The Salt Lake Chamber advocates policies that strengthen the Utah economy. From time to time, the Chamber hosts candidate forums that provide an opportunity for business leaders to ask questions of candidates in high-priority races. The Chamber does not endorse candidates but actively encourages dialogue between business leaders and candidates.

To see photos from the forum, check out our Flickr account.

Chamber hosts Candidate Forum with Republican Senate hopefuls

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Senator Bob Bennett answers a question during the Candidate Forum.

With the 2010 General Legislative Session in our rearview mirror (but only barely) it’s already campaign season. Both parties will elect delegates Tuesday and today the Salt Lake Chamber hosted a Candidate Forum featuring the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, Senator Bob Bennett, Tim Bridgewater, Merrill Cook, Cherilyn Eager and Mike Lee.

The Salt Lake Chamber advocates policies that strengthen the Utah economy. From time to time, the Chamber hosts candidate forums that provide an opportunity for business leaders to ask questions of candidates in high-priority races. The Chamber does not endorse candidates but actively encourages dialogue between business leaders and candidates.

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