SALT LAKE CITY  (Dec 4, 2015) – This past week Congress advanced several priorities that are key to the success of the state’s business community. Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, released the following statement regarding the passage of the FAST Act, advancement of the ESSA Act, proposed changes to legislation in the Affordable Care Act and other key priorities:

“The Utah business community is enthused and energized by the advancement of key priorities that signal Washington is finally acting on long-standing critical issues to strengthen our economy. For far too long, Congress has been hampering economic certainty through partisan battles. It’s refreshing to see bipartisan efforts and statesmanship win the day, as all of Utah’s delegation played a constructive role.

“Specifically, we applaud the successful passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a long-term surface transportation bill that provides consistent investment in our transportation infrastructure. We deeply appreciate the leadership of Senator Hatch, Chairman Bishop and Congresswoman Love for their support of federal investment in Utah’s highways and public transportation systems. The Chamber also welcomes the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank that will support Utah businesses as they compete in the global marketplace.

“Additionally, the permit streamlining provisions of the FAST Act are an extremely encouraging sign of bipartisan support for smart regulatory reform. This reform will accelerate investment and growth in our state’s economy through prudent environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects needing federal permits. This will bring greater efficiency, transparency, and accountability to the federal permitting review process. Its coverage is very broad, including infrastructure, energy, aviation, broadband and manufacturing projects – all critical to our state’s economy.

“After successful passage in the House, the Senate will soon act on a bipartisan education bill – the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – which will return control of education to the states and local school districts from the federal government. Now, more than ever, education is the surest path to economic success. We must move Utah’s education rankings back to the top ten in the nation. We can do that through ESSA.

“We also want to commend the effort to advance health care reform that applies market principles to contain costs and improve healthcare through reducing the onerous burdens on business placed by the Affordable Care Act.

“We want to also acknowledge the leadership and partnership of Governor Herbert in his role as chair of the National Governors Association in building consensus and advancing these key priorities.

“We are hopeful this momentum continues and that key issues, including meaningful corporate tax and immigration reform, a repeal of the federal medical device tax, a resolution to the collection of remote sales and use taxes and extending key tax benefits that will spur investment and innovation will be addressed in the coming months.

“Taken together, these long-standing Chamber priorities will provide the certainty to help businesses plan, create jobs and strengthen Utah’s economy.”