President’s message: Addressing Utah’s growth, all-hands-on-deck

2019 is here and for many of us the start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on our past and look toward our future.

One area the Salt Lake Chamber will focus on this upcoming year is Utah’s growth, and the impact it will have on our state, cities, neighborhoods and lifestyles for decades to come.

Addressing Utah’s growth will be an all-hands-on-deck affair. More so, we’ll need those hands working in unison, creating policies that involve all sectors of Utah’s economy. Proactive and deliberate planning today means we can harness this growth to our state’s advantage, creating an opportunity out of a potential obstacle. I invite you to review the Chamber’s policy priorities for the upcoming year and to identify an area where you can get involved.

Tax Modernization

Our business climate must remain strong for our state to continue to be a destination for new businesses to develop and current businesses to expand. We need to modernize our tax structure by broadening our sales tax base to include consumable services. And we need to simplify our system of incentives for businesses to focus on workforce development and recruiting talent.


To fill those jobs, we’ll need a plentiful, skilled workforce, which will require partnerships between our colleges and universities, businesses and high schools. This will include bolstering our Pathways Programs, such as the Highway, IT, and Construction Pathways. A strained workforce creates risk for future development and results in ever-increasing housing prices.

Housing Gap

Utah’s housing market is already facing a major gap. We currently have 54,000 more households than available housing units. We must work with local communities and municipalities now to create smart growth, such as neighborhoods with a variety of housing options to address our growing population and income of all levels.


Part of smart growth must include a comprehensive transportation plan. We believe users of our state’s infrastructure should bear the primary responsibility of its funding while continuing state investment in multimodal forms of transportation. Having more easy-to-use, affordable options outside of individual cars on the road will make for easier commutes and less emissions.

Air Quality & Water Supply

Faster travel times and more commuting options will have a significant impact on Utah’s air quality, something that will not get better without conscious effort on behalf of all Utahns. Additionally, as the second driest state in the nation, we must also think about how our state’s water supply will be paid for and maintained.

Health Care

The health care of Utahns must be made a top priority moving forward. In Utah, more than any other state, people purchase their health care through their employers. This is why we need the business community to be more involved in the health care process, to keep costs low and ensure flexibility in care.

While this list of priorities is by no means exhaustive. A fuller, more vibrant Utah is coming and we must start planning how our state will adapt today. Perhaps you want to help clear our air, secure a skilled and talented workforce, or ensure health care for all Utahns. Whatever it may be the Salt Lake Chamber is here to help. I highly encourage you to get involved with the Chamber this year and help secure our future, to learn more visit: