July 2, 2012

Cover Story

Built to Lead

Perhaps no Utah governor in modern memory comes to the office with a broad...Read More

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Built to Lead

How Utah and Its First Family Are Positioned to Expand Utah’s Nation-Leading Dynamism

Kimball Thomson

July 2, 2012

The Huntsman-Herbert administration garnered a host of accolades for Utah, including recognition as the best-managed U.S. state by the Pew Center on the States. In 2008, the team won re-election with an extraordinary 77.7 percent of the vote.

Widely acknowledged as one of the most visible and active lieutenant governors in Utah history, Governor Herbert was positioned to hit the ground running as Governor of the Beehive State.

“I can’t imagine better preparation for serving as governor than spending five years as Lieutenant Governor, traveling the state and connecting with business and community leaders about their needs, aspirations and priorities,” says Governor Herbert “I am fully committed to putting all these experiences to work for Utah’s citizens and business community.”

On August 11, 2009, Gary Herbert took the Oath of Office to become Utah’s 17th governor, when Governor Huntsman accepted appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China. In 2010, Governor Herbert won a special gubernatorial election, attracting more than 64 percent of the statewide vote.

Governing America’s Most Dynamic Economy
Tempered and steeled by a wealth of influences, Governor Herbert is perhaps ideally equipped to lead a state that under his stewardship has consistently been recognized as the nation’s best-managed state and most dynamic economy. Utah has become a fixture atop national studies of fiscal soundness and other key measures of business dynamism and enlightened governance.

In January 2012, Utah garnered the top spot for economic outlook on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) report, “Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index,” for the fourth consecutive year.  The study analyzes the business environment, including business-friendly legislation and regulation in each U.S. state.  Study co-author Jonathan Williams recognized Utah for its pro-business policies, which “span the gamut of tax regulation and labor policy that have a predictable future that makes investment in Utah very attractive for businesses...For years, Utah has gotten things right when it comes to tax policy, regulation and labor policy.”

The state’s pro-growth business policies were further validated by a #2 ranking in the “Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2011: Re-Building America’s Economic Power,” a major annual study of job creation and -retention. 

In Q4 2011, Utah also became the two-time defending champion of the Forbes  award for “Best State for Business and Careers, and earned the top spot in the most recent Business Facilities report for “Best Business Climate,” which recognizes the top national places for company expansion or relocation. In two comprehensive studies (2008 and 2010), the Kauffman Foundation’s State New Economy Index recognized Utah with the top spot in Economic Dynamism. The 2010 iteration of the Kauffman report also ranked the state first in Online Population and E-Government, third in Fastest Growing Firms and fifth for Venture Capital. 

Utah’s Governor is a tireless champion of the opportunities his state provides. “I have experienced Utah’s unequalled quality of life firsthand,” he says, “and will always work to ensure and broadcast to the world that Utah is the very best place to live and to grow a business.”

Cornerstones of Governor Gary Herbert’s Vision for Utah
Governor Herbert has identified four cornerstones of his vision to keep Utah at the forefront of economic success, innovation and dynamism.

  • Education: “In Utah, we face a ‘Utah Unique’ challenge, working to educate the largest population of school children relative to our tax base. At the same time, there is unprecedented opportunity to train our students into the most dynamic workforce of the future. We are on our way to achieving this with our focus on tying education and training with the evolving needs of industry.” Governor Herbert noted the strength of the state’s university commercialization efforts. The University of Utah consistently ranks first or second in commercialization of research into companies, and Brigham Young University consistently ranks at or near the top in commercialization per dollar spent.  
  • Energy: “Utah has a great wealth of natural gas ready for development, and we are aggressively pursuing alternative energies, from geothermal to wind and solar.” 
  • Jobs: “There is a reason that Utah consistently ranks at the top for ability to emerge healthy from the global economic downturn. It is because of our job-friendly tax policies and our business-friendly regulatory environment, and because of the productivity of our workforce.” Salt Lake City currently ranks first in the nation in productivity for U.S. cities according to the Brookings Institute’s Metro Monitor, and Ogden ranks in the top 10. The state’s current 3-percent growth rate far outpaces the national rate of less than 2 percent.  
  • Self-Determination: “We are working tirelessly to strengthen the Utah business community by keeping taxes and regulations low and reasonable. We have identified and are preparing to jettison 300-plus regulations that have outlived their value. We have made the tough decisions many states aren’t willing to make, trimming more than a billion dollars from our budget, so our citizens and businesses aren’t troubled with the burden of debt, leaving them free to grow and innovate.”

For more information about Governor Gary R. Herbert’s vision for Utah, visit www.utah.gov

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