After each General Session, the Legislature meets and discusses relevant items of significance. The Salt Lake Chamber’s public policy team actively tracks this process and helps navigate study items on behalf of members and the broader business community. These Interim sessions help provide a preview of issues that may be addressed in a future General Legislative Session.
Every month the Salt Lake Chamber policy team will give an update on relevant business issues that the Legislature’s bicameral study committees discuss.
Items of note from the legislative interim committees:
Transportation Interim Committee
The committee reviewed and passed several bills regarding governance structures for transportation development, including amending road classifications and recommendations from the recent UDOT audit. The committee also received updates on the Point of the Mountian commission and B & C Roads Fund legislation, addressing distribution of transportation funding for counties.
At a Special Session called by the Governor, the Utah State House of Representatives and Utah State Senate passed HB 4002S1, which reflects the motor fuel tax compromise framework between the Utah League of Cities and Towns and Utah Association of Counties. UDOT is ready to release the 6th distribution from FY 2016 soon to cities, towns, and counties once the internal bill process concludes.
The Chamber believes that because Utah has limited resources and robust growth, long-term planning and disciplined investment are required to meet our infrastructure needs.
Education and Workforce Interim Committee
The committee discussed two pieces of draft legislation:
- A bill to reimburse a school district for a student who graduates early as a result of completing a competency-based education program.
- A bill to fund tuition for a child who resides in Utah (i.e. border counties) but attends school in a neighboring state.
The committee also received reports regarding possible changes to the school assessment and accountability system, an evaluation of student leadership skills programs, past education policies and the Utah State Board of Education’s 10-year strategic plan.
Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee
Tax credits on electric vehicles would result in better air quality, but could potentially reduce spending in other areas such as education. Committee bills are passed for tax exemption for guides and outfitters and for energy efficient vehicle tax credits. One such tax credit includes the Energy Efficient Vehicle Tax Credit. The proposal is to extend a tax credit on electric vehicles to 2021 which is primarily meant to improve air quality and incentivize purchases in the industry.
Economic Development and Workforce Interim Committee
The Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst in response to HB310 and HB3001 reviewed economic development tax incentives through the development of a tool that evaluates not just tax incentives but exclusions, exceptions and inducements. One goal of this project was to identify whether or not policy was reinforcing best practices for a specific area of tax incentive and express it in a way that is easy to understand. The tool LFA will be used to advise committees on bills in these areas, and eventually when more data becomes available, will be able to gauge the accomplishments of specific incentives and how they have changed.
The Chamber supports the improvement data-driven decision-making and ensuring regulators abide by overarching principles and performance metrics.