How the 2014 General Session Impacted Business

The Utah business community commends the Utah legislature for another great year for business.

The 2014 General Session wrapped up in March, and the newly released Salt Lake Chamber 2014 Legislative Scorecard  highlights how the business community’s policy priorities fared. 

“Utah’s economy is in a spectacular position because of the leadership of our Governor, Legislature and our great business community working together to bring compromise for important progress for our state,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. 

The Salt Lake Chamber Vote website monitored the course of 298 bills that had an impact on business through the legislative session. Through that website tool, more than 9,800 emails were sent to state representatives, asking them to act on policy decisions. Eleven of 13 business community priority bills passed, and the average of “yes” votes on priority bills stood at 83 percent. With a 93 percent passage of supported bills, 2014 was an excellent year for Utah’s business community. 

Here’s what the Utah’s Legislature helped accomplish this year:

STRENGTHENED COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION

•  Provided $62 million to public education, increasing the weighted pupil unit by 2.5 percent and
another $62 million to fund 10,300 new students
• Invested toward goal of 66 percent of adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate, providing $50 million to equalize funding and increase capacity in our state’s higher education institutions
• Expanded efforts to reach goals of 90 percent proficiency in reading and math among Utah students, allocating more than $7 million for preschool and early intervention programs for at-risk children, and $20 million to STEM education

ENHANCED COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

• Approved a multi-decade effort to support the development of a convention center hotel, benefiting
the entire state
• Authorized $400,000 in business marketing, corporate recruitment and business expansion efforts, as well as $15 million in tourism marketing
• Addressed critical community issues through investing $100,000 to incentivize employers to hire the homeless 
• Tackled issues of panhandling and solicitation around Utah’s highways and sidewalks that negatively impact the ability to conduct business in a safe manner 
• Partnered to fund $400,000 for the Your Utah, Your Future quality growth initiative

ACTED TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY

• Funded a $500,000 air quality education campaign 
• Provided $1 million in scientific research to help better understand the causes of air pollution 
• Established a $200,000 fund to help small businesses reduce air emissions through new technologies and programs 
• Created a $250,000 fund to incentivize the conversion of sole-source wood burning homes to cleaner energy heating 
• Addressed mobile emissions through enabling enhanced infrastructure for electric vehicles,
providing tax credits to purchase alternative fuel vehicles and mandating 50 percent of the State’s vehicle fleet to be highly efficient vehicles by 2015 

ESTABLISHED PLATFORM FOR FUTURE ACTION

• Jump-started a robust conversation to address both the $11.3 billion funding gap outlined in the 2040 Unified Transportation Plan and the significant need for increased education funding 
• Moved toward improving Utah’s air quality and set the stage for further discussions on issues such as Tier 3 fuels and improving statewide transit systems

The 2014 Legislative Scorecard also has a bill-by-bill tally of priority bills and their impacts on Utah business. To see the PDF of the 2014 Legislative Scorecard, click here