Utah’s Budget and Economy

Utah’s Budget and Economy

Utah’s economy is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation, and the latest ranking shows Utah with the best economy in America during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to 24/7 Wall Street. Our strong economic growth and low unemployment rate are indications of prudent annual budgeting, a substantial rainy day savings fund, and Utah’s efforts to attract a variety of businesses which make up a vibrant and exciting economy. We have enjoyed an economic growth rate of 3.4% from 2015 until the pandemic of 2020, far outpacing the national GDP growth rate of 1.9%. Utah weathered the Great Recession better than most other states and it looks as though we will also fare better than many others in the uncertain times of the pandemic.

This is not to say that Utah has not suffered some significant state budget cuts. All indicators were pointing toward a substantial budget surplus in 2020, but the pandemic illustrated the importance of keeping a balanced budget and having adequate funds set aside for emergency situations. This summer, the legislature met in special session specifically to work on balancing our budget under new economic conditions and forecasts, while minimizing cuts wherever possible. Painful as they were, cuts needed to be made in order to keep Utah on solid economic footing.

Critical to keeping Utah’s economy strong is remaining a business-friendly state. We need to attract businesses with strong ethics and a commitment to providing excellent workplaces for employees and Silicon Slopes is a prime example of where Utah is doing this right. I’d like to see more tech businesses bring their companies to southern Utah, where we can provide higher paying jobs for our children and grandchildren. I value my service as a member of St. George Area Economic Development Board and executive committee.  I have been recognized by both the St. George Chamber of Commerce and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce for being a small business advocate.  Most recently, I was honored to be named the 2020 Utah Legislator of the Year by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce for my work in supporting business and the mission of the Chamber with legislation I sponsored.