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Justin Jones 
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Business community rolls out 2013 legislative priorities

SALT LAKE CITY- (Jan. 14, 2013) The Utah business community released its priorities for the upcoming General Legislative Session, presenting the 2013 Public Policy Guide to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Becky Lockhart. The guide outlines the Chamber’s position on issues including economic development, education, transportation, health reform, energy, clean air, immigration, Downtown Rising and international business.
“The 2013 Public Policy Guide is a Chamber document, but it represents the broad-based support of chambers of commerce across the state as well as the other important business associations,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “We happen to be the only group that represents all business across the state and it’s critical that we speak with one voice.”
Prosperity 2020
Enhancing innovation, accountability and investment in education is a top priority for the business community. As a strong supporter of the Prosperity 2020 movement, the Chamber outlines strategic innovations and investments to ensure 66 percent of Utah adults have a college degree or postsecondary certification by the end of the decade. Business leaders support investing in capacity in Utah’s institutions of higher learning for high-growth, high-wage degrees—notably STEM and health professions.
The guide also outlines a recommendation to improve public education including computer adaptive testing, early intervention and programs for children at risk. Investment in the Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) is critical if Utah is to reach the 66 percent goal. The guide outlines support for increasing UCAT’s output.
Utah has invested wisely in its mobility infrastructure and the business community is championing a strategy to preserve and maintain its substantial transportation investment. Every dollar spent on preserving roads saves six dollars in rehabilitation costs and $10 in reconstruction costs.
“Investment in infrastructure has never been glamorous, but it is a necessity,” said Ray Pickup, chair of the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors and president and CEO of WCF. “We must continue to build and maintain our transportation and energy systems if we expect a robust economy and prosperous society.”
Regulatory burdens continue to hinder economic growth. The Chamber has sharpened its focus on cultivating a regulatory environment for business to thrive while maintaining a level playing field to boost healthy competition.
Businesses with fewer than 20 employees incur regulatory costs 42 percent higher than larger businesses of up to 500 employees. The average regulatory costs for each employee of a small business exceed $10,000 per year.
“We have to look at what impacts the economy today and the impacts our decisions will have years into the future,” said Beattie, a former president of the Utah Senate. “Having been a legislator, I know that all these issues are important and they all demand attention. Being a legislator today is more difficult than it has ever been.”
The speaker shared her thoughts with the group of business leaders gathered at the Salt Lake Chamber on the issues facing the Legislature, including funding for education, continued investment in transportation infrastructure and other projects—all made more difficult, she said, by the federal government’s handling of the fiscal cliff.
About the Chamber
The Salt Lake Chamber is Utah’s largest business association and Utah’s business leader.  A statewide chamber of commerce with members in all 29 Utah counties, the Chamber represents 7,700 businesses and approximately 500,000 Utah jobs—nearly half the workforce of our state. With roots that date back to 1887, the Chamber stands as the voice of business, supports its members’ success and champions community prosperity.