The Utah Legislature has passed two bills that support two of the Salt Lake Chamber’s most important priorities — SB 39, Affordable Housing Amendments, sponsored by Senator Jake Anderegg, and HB 357, Public Education Funding Stabilization, sponsored by Representative Robert Spendlove. Both measures are considered necessary by the Chamber to ensure continued economic growth for individuals and families.
Utah’s population grew more in the last decade than any other state and is set to double by 2040. SB 39, which is the recommendation of the Utah Commission on Housing Affordability, will not only help Utah provide necessary resources to meet Utah’s future growth, but will help ensure that our available housing is affordable for our workforce. The bill appropriates $10 million to the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund to provide gap financing for private activity bond-financed multi-family housing and preservation funding for the construction of existing affordable housing and to leverage $20 million in private funding .
After significant work by the Legislature, Governor and education stakeholders in the State, the Legislature announced and passed HB 357 that will increase education funding by an historic 6%, $200 million in new ongoing funding. The bill also provides for automatic increases for student enrollment increases and inflation. The bill also creates an ongoing public education budget stabilization account that would set aside $75 million to ensure, at a minimum, that this increase in funding can occur every year.
Utah has a history of preparing for the future. This legislature and our current leadership are no different, passing policies that put individuals and families first by improving opportunities for housing and strengthening the foundation for quality education in Utah. The Chamber agrees with Governor Gary R. Herbert’s assessment — shared during a press conference to celebrate passage of the Public Education Funding Stabilization Act — that the bill will help us meet the “goal of making Utah the best performing education system in America.”
As the voice of business in Utah, the Salt Lake Chamber has long prioritized the need to increase education funding and to address our issues related to housing affordability. The Chamber and its member committees, sustained by volunteer members from the business community, have worked closely with stakeholders and the Legislature during the 2020 session on these issues. There are a lot of unsung heroes behind what has been accomplished with these two top priorities. We extend our profound gratitude for all their work. We thank the Governor for his leadership and the Legislature for taking on the task of making hard decisions. We celebrate with Utah, honored by the role the Chamber was able to play.
Today marks the last day of the 2020 Legislative Session, and while we have made significant strides on these issues there is still work to be done. We will continue to advocate for and champion the remaining Chamber legislative priorities. If you have questions or information related to any legislation, please reach out to our team.