Gov. Herbert boasts of Utah dominance at annual economic summit

Pictured right to left, A. Scott Anderson, Clayton Christensen, Gov. Gary Herbert.
Pictured right to left, A. Scott Anderson, Clayton Christensen, Gov. Gary Herbert.

Education, private business and small government were just three of the main points of Gov. Gary Herbert’s speech at a sold-out governor’s economic summit.

At this summit, business men and women were able to listen to Clayton Christensen and attend a selection of various small workshops for many types and sizes of businesses.

Held at The Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, the sold-out event hosted at least 1,000 people, including representatives from Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to name a few.

Gov. Herbert gave a speech during the lunch, and his economic director, Spencer P. Eccles, summarized the theme of the conference when he said, “Business, not government, is the backbone of Utah’s economy.”

Herbert praised Utah’s good economic status and pointed to the private sector as the reason for that success.

He recounted an experience he had at the White House a couple of weeks ago, where he was in the Oval office with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

“Gary, I like you; I like what you are doing in Utah. Utah is having such good positive results; you are a great example to this union,” said Biden, according to Herbert.

Herbert explained that the reason Utah is having such great success is because of strict adherence to fundamentals.

“One of our fundamentals is low, competitive and consistent tax rates. Another fundamental is efficiency in government … we strive to get the government off your backs and out of your office. I’m not anti-government; I believe that government has a role to play, but I believe that role should be limited,” Herbert said.

The governor also spoke on a big challenge to the funding of the Utah educational system — that there are a growing number of kids in the school system, and not enough adults paying taxes to help fund them.

A majority of Utah land is owned by the government — which does not pay property taxes to the state; a problem because those taxes are a large part of where school funding comes from.

“Utah is a fast-growing state; it is the second fastest growing state in America,” Herbert said. “It costs us nearly $70 million each year just to pay for the new students that come into our system. … We are also developing the workforce of tomorrow today; our workers are young, they are productive, they are tech-savvy, and they are bilingual.”

After the speech Gov. Herbert gave remarks on the importance of college students on today’s economy in Utah. “(Today’s students) are going to take over in just a few short years. It is critical that they are prepared for that additional responsibility; if they are not, our economy is going to go in the toilet.”

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