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Herbert: Recovery Lies in Job Creation

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert gave the keynote address at the 13th annual Washington County Summit entitled "What’s Up Down South."

By Ken Holman

Overland Group President

 

ST. GEORGE -- Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, appointed 17th governor of Utah upon the resignation of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., who was appointed by President Barack Obama as Ambassador to China, gave the keynote address at the 13th annual Washington County Summit entitled "What’s Up Down South."

 

In his address to more than 500 people, Herbert spoke of the economy, saying recovery is about jobs and job creation.

 

“Economic development is the number one issue,” Herbert stated.


We need a prospering, growing economy, Herbert said. We need limited government, he added.


Utah's government, unlike the federal government in Washington, D.C., lives within its means, Herbert said. Rather than rack up massive amounts of unfunded debt, like Washington, Utah has tightened its belt to make up the $700 million shortfall in revenues, he said. Part of the shortfall will be made up by taking $200 million from a “Rainy Day Fund” of about $450 million, Herbert said.


Utah has nearly a $3.2 billion budget, compared to Arizona at $20 billion and California at $100 billion. These two states have budget deficits of $10 billion and $20 billion, respectively.

 

During his speech, Herbert cited the many accolades Utah has received over the recent years, such as: being ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the three best places to do business; being rated by the PEW Management Report as one of the three best managed states in America; and ranked in the recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, as the “Happiest” state in America. He said the reason we are in better shape than most states is for three reasons. No. 1: Utah has had good governors. No. 2: Utah has had fiscally-conservative legislators. No. 3: Utah has had a vibrant private sector.

 

The Governor said government’s role should be limited. Government doesn’t create jobs but, if not careful, it can stifle growth through over-taxation and inefficiency. He said his priorities are threefold: to grow the economy; to improve education; and to develop our energy resources, both our natural energy fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, and our alternative energy fuels like wind power, geothermal and solar energy.


Although most agencies in the government will be cut, Herbert vowed to keep the amount of funding for education at its current level and to not raise taxes.