2021 was a year of growth and expansion for Utah’s economy in the face of inflation, supply chain disruptions and proliferating coronavirus variants. Our collective pulling together during the pandemic continues to impress leaders and commentators nationally. At the start of every new year, leaders begin to pursue new goals or priorities within their organization. The Salt Lake Chamber is no exception to this process – determining what we want to focus on and champion for the business community in the upcoming year.
Specifically, when shaping our comprehensive legislative priorities, we seek to strike a balance between continuity and change but prioritize actions that will sustain our enviable economic landscape. For example, maintaining our first-class business climate is one of the Chamber’s enduring goals because if we were to lose that other challenges would quickly become manifest. In 2020, we advocated for no new regulations as businesses did not need additional hurdles to jump through given the ongoing disruptions from the pandemic. Additionally, the Chamber led efforts on traditional priorities around funding education, improving infrastructure and bolstering workforce development.
Each year the Chamber releases a policy guide outlining priorities for the upcoming legislative session. The 2022 Public Policy Guide is focused on maximizing the upside of growth with increased opportunity and prosperity while mitigating the downside and maintaining Utah’s stellar quality of life. I would like to preview one important component in the soon-to-be released guide – Technology and Cybersecurity. These burgeoning areas of importance will receive renewed emphasis from our policy team and be foundational to Utah’s continued growth and modernization of business operations, critical infrastructure and communities.
The rise of a data-driven approach to economic growth needs to be led by innovation in policy responses to ensure it matches technology’s capability. The increase in cyber attacks on public and private institutions remains a serious threat to all aspects of our society. To do this, public-private partners should work together to make sure we are aligned against emerging threats and opportunities. The primacy of technology and innovation in our solutions means we must support technology and cyber policy that helps foster better and more dependable outcomes.
In line with this, we applaud the recent announcement from Governor Cox to form a Cybersecurity Task Force to protect Utah’s infrastructure. Business leaders must also show this type of leadership in the private sector. Putting forth pragmatic solutions to meet the opportunities before us remains critical. Utah’s deepening ecosystem around technology means we can lead the way toward policy solutions. In this area, among many others, I remain ever optimistic about the future of our state and its leadership position on the national stage.
This is just one priority of many that the Chamber will focus on in the upcoming year. Stay tuned for the release of our full policy guide at the Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit on January 13, 2022, at the Grand America Hotel. There is still time to register and we hope you can attend to hear the latest thinking on the near-term outlook.