By Aaron Hastings
Capital West News
SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised Utah in a news conference at the Capitol with a report stating that Utah is “the only state in every top 10 ‘Enterprising States’ category.”
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation President and former Governor of Maine John R. McKernan Jr. spoke at the meeting.
“We wanted to highlight how policies can have an impact on economies” said McKernan, “there is only one state that is in the top 10 in all six categories, both this year and last year, and no one has even don that for one year. That is Utah.”
The six ‘Enterprising States’ categories come from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which releases reports on each states’ economic progress annually.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert attributes the economic success reflected in this report to lowering tax rates and regulation reform.
“We’ve taken a very proactive approach here in Utah to weed out these unnecessary regulations to help businesses be successful,” said Herbert. “The predictability and certainty they have in our environment here in Utah has certainly been part of the catalyst for the successes that we’ve had here in the state.”
Herbert also spoke on the importance of a skilled, educated work force, and a diverse economy within the state.
“It’s no secret that in Utah we punch above our weight class,” said Val Hale, Governor’s Office of Economic Development Executive Director. “We do many things really well and the rest of the country is asking itself what’s going on in Utah.”
Hale then went on to reference an article released yesterday in the New Yorker magazine, citing Utah as the next Silicon Valley.
“[The article] talked about the strength of our diversity and our technology,” Hale said.“We’ve got the great diversity in our economy. We may not be the top and the best in everything, but we are good, above average, and approaching excellent in so many categories.”
Hale cited fields like information technology, advanced manufacturing, and aerospace as key sectors of growth that have attributed to Utah’s current and potential future success.
Lane Beattie, Salt Lake Chamber president, also spoke on Utah’s economic success, citing contributors from the private sector.
“For years we’ve had people in the private world of business make a difference in the state of Utah,” said Beattie. “That’s what makes a difference.”