In 2020, our mantra rightly became “Utah Leads Together.” From its founding, Utah has been made stronger through adversity and the way we confront it together. We know how to succeed, and this new year brings us renewed opportunity to focus on short term recovery and long term prosperity to emerge from the pandemic in as strong a position as possible.
These are the two primary objectives of the Salt Lake Chamber’s priorities for the new year, as outlined in our 2021 Public Policy Guide.
These priorities, for short-term economic recovery and long-term economic growth, have been determined through the efforts of the Chamber’s policy working groups, industry roundtables and forums, member surveys, input from our Board, and coordination with our many community and government partners.
Additionally, this year we also have something new. Highlighted throughout the guide are policies marked with the Utah Chamber Policy Coalition logo. This Coalition, which was formed last year, is made up of local chambers of commerce from across the state, and its broader priorities are denoted with the coalition’s logo.
Our top priority amidst the current economic challenges is to ensure that our businesses are able to endure, and this begins with a predictable regulatory environment and tax policies that encourage innovation, investment, opportunity, and growth. Toward this end, we are asking the legislature for a moratorium on regulations and any additional taxation.
True economic recovery also requires us to focus on the business community’s most important resource – its people – to develop and align a workforce to meet the demands of expanding industries. This will contribute to our immediate recovery in connecting out of work individuals to currently available jobs, and it will help meet the needs of our growing economy.
As Utah’s economy recovers, transportation infrastructure and energy resources must meet demands and opportunities. We must ensure that our families, employees, and communities have sufficient and affordable housing, as well as an environment and clean air that continues to offer the quality of life for which our state is so well known.
In 2021, we will continue to prioritize rural economic development, and while we support improving rural economic programs, we also build on lessons learned through the pandemic. Our rural communities offer invaluable resources through remote working opportunities, and we will build upon these in ways not previously thought possible.
A successful recovery requires us to press forward with an aggressive public health response to COVID-19 and to provide targeted assistance for industries and businesses that have been most seriously affected by the pandemic. Our priorities call upon the legislature and executive branch to work closely with the business community in the distribution of vaccines to quickly protect our workforce.
Ending the pandemic and returning to normalcy will require our best efforts to instil confidence in our employees to receive the vaccine, confidence in our customers to engage in the economy safely, and supporting government efforts to deploy it swiftly.
We invite everyone to review these priorities and work with the Salt Lake Chamber, Governor Spencer Cox, our state and federal legislators and local leaders to accomplish these goals and lead Utah through current challenges and beyond. I am confident these measures will positively influence our short-term recovery and longer-term opportunity, leading to a prosperous and bright future for all Utahns.
Derek Miller is the President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance.