Economy, Small Business, Jobs

THE ISSUE

Utah has led the country’s economic recovery since the end of the Great Recession, but Utah workers, employers, and entrepreneurs still face serious obstacles to success.  The continued economic expansion has delivered weak wage and salary growth to the majority of Americans, in contrast to growing costs of living.  Even during the 2001-2007 economic expansion that preceded the Great Recession, America saw the weakest private sector job growth since the Second World War.

Ongoing globalization will continue to change the nature of our economy and labor market, but the new reality in which we will work and live does not provide our policy makers an excuse for inaction.  Utah families of all shapes and sizes must have the opportunity to work for a rewarding career, a safe retirement, and a legacy for the next generation.

Utah needs a diverse economic base and healthy, educated workforce to maintain its status as one of the best states for business and employment.  However, outright cuts to or insufficient growth in education, social programs, and public investment diminish our future capacity for growth and social equity.  Changes to our state tax code, most importantly the implementation of a flat income tax, have exacerbated inequality and have limted our state budget.  Moreover, ignoring issues of environmental degradation and pollution likewise risks not only the health of our society, but also the tourism and recreation business and spending vital to Utah’s economy and quality of life.

Utahns value entrepreneurism and hard work, and to ensure our community’s success, we know we must invest in our people and in opportunities for everyone.  Utah Democrats commit to this vision.

Our Position

Utah Democrats know economic growth requires a solid foundation of an educated and innovative workforce, public infrastructure and services to support private sector needs, and investment in technology to maintain our competitive edge.  Our state stands to benefit from diversity in economic strengths and career opportunities.  Whether businesses seek to manufacture, provide services, or research and innovate, they should look to Utah as the place to hire and grow.  Democrats know the public sector has a key role in making our state that desirable place.

Current and prospective Utahns alike desire quality education for themselves and their children, affordable healthcare options, and safe communities.  Our state and local governments must choose to prioritize innovation in and funding for these public services.  Utah governments must invest in clean energy and research to ensure Utah has the resources it needs to grow, without polluting our state.  Lastly, both the public and private sector must recognize the importance and benefits of real wage growth, and employers and legislators must ensure all Utahns can afford higher education and to live on their incomes.

Critics wrongly suggest that Utah Democrats want a large and expensive government, which they believe will cripple private sector growth.  Much to the contrary, Utah Democrats want an efficient, modern, and adequately funded government to lay the foundation for private sector growth in which all citizens can participate.  

Utah Democrats will push to raise the minimum wage, benefitting the most vulnerable members of our labor force.  We will work with the private sector to incentivize lending to and investment in small businesses that hire in Utah.  Democrats will work to reform our tax code to reintroduce a graduated, progressive income tax so that everyone pays taxes according to their ability to do so, making our society fairer without increasing the total income tax burden.  We will increase and prioritize education funding from early childhood to higher education to ensure our future competitiveness and success.