Utah Governor Gary Herbert addressed a special joint session of the Utah Legislature Wednesday night for his annual State of the State address. Herbert focused on Utah’s economic prosperity, education, energy development and conservation.
Herbert maintains he is more optimistic about Utah’s future than ever before, and that the State of the State is strong. He bases his optimism on the investment legislators made last year in education calling it, “the largest and most important investment Utah makes.” According to the governor, education is the “key to a robust economy,” and thanked every Utah teacher for their contribution.
Herbert’s goal is to have a tech-savvy work force available to businesses within and relocating to the state. He wants 66 percent of Utah’s adult population to hold college degrees or secondary certificates by the year 2020. Currently 42.6 percent hold higher degrees, according to the governor. He asked the legislature to unite behind that goal and provide the necessary tools.
Herbert believes our future lies in the free-market, and we must continue to provide a business friendly economy. To do this, he believes the State Prison must be relocated to make room for IT expansion. A proposal for the move was made in 2011, with questions about possible conflicts of interest.
Conservation and its role in Utah’s future was another focus. Governor Herbert wants government to become even more efficient. He is pushing legislation to create the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, with a plan to cut the size of government by 25 percent in the next four years.
He also touched on energy development in the Uintah Basin, the early and under budget completions of UDOT’s I-15 Core Project and UTA’s Frontrunner, and a reduction in water use within the state of 18 percent since 2010. Governor Herbert addressed poor air quality that has been plaguing Utah valleys asking individuals and businesses to consider what they can do to reduce emissions.
Not mentioned by the governor: Ethics reform (problems within UDOT, UTA, Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Utah Attorney General), gun control, healthcare reform or Utah’s proposed federal land grab.
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Source: Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Utah State Legislature