In the Capitol Board Room this morning, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert convened the inaugural meeting of the Governor's Economic Development Coordinating Council. With eleven members representing Utah's key players on the economic development front, the Council was created as part of the Governor's long-term economic development initiative to ensure the collective efforts of government and the business community are focused on jobs.
"In Utah, we recognize it is the private sector - operating in free markets - which produces jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for our citizens," the Governor said in his opening remarks. "Government does have a role - a limited role - to play in promoting public policies which lead to private sector job growth and economic expansion."
After detailing specific guiding principles, like fiscal prudence, sensible regulation and empowering the private sector, Governor Herbert announced the council's singular focus: Accelerate support for private sector efforts to create 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days.
The Governor said, "Let me stress that this should not be a plan for government to create jobs but, rather, on how the private sector can create the jobs. Don't confuse taxpayer dollars with venture capital.
Council members discussed the critical need for accelerated alignment of public education, workforce readiness and employer needs. They also touched on each of the Governor's seven action items:
1. Continue to recruit new companies to the state.
2. Reduce taxes on business expansion inputs for local Utah companies.
3. Increase access to capital for small and start up businesses. Work with the Utah Fund of Funds to encourage them to focus, first and foremost, on assisting Utah companies.
4. Assist the growth of companies in rural Utah by expanding the Business Expansion and Retention program and the Rural Fast Track Program.
5. Expand our global vision by doubling Utah exports in the next five years.
6. Implement the state's 10-Year Energy Plan to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy.
7. Ensure a stable business environment and maintain Utah's AAA bond-rating through regulatory reform and fiscally prudent management of state government.
Per SB312, passed in the 2011 General Session by the Utah Legislature (http://le.utah.gov/~2011/bills/sbillenr/sb0312.pdf), the council shall:
1. Coordinate and advise on policies and objectives related to economic development and growth in the state.
2. Coordinate with state and private entities, including private venture capital and seed capital firms, to avoid duplication of programs and to increase the availability of venture and seed capital for research and development and growth of new and existing businesses.
3. Focus on technologies, industries, and geographical areas in which the state can expand investment and entrepreneurship and stimulate job growth.
4. Coordinate ideas and strategies to increase national and international business activities for both urban and rural areas of the state.
5. Plan, coordinate, advise, or recommend any other action that would better the state's economy.
6. The council shall prepare and present an annual report of its activities to the governor and to the Legislature's Workforce Services and Community and Economic Development Interim Committee.