My first and highest priority will be the economy here in Utah. A State with sufficient employment opportunities is a State that can expect economic stability ... Jobs, and the taxes they generate, produce the revenue that allows state government to support education, healthcare, transportation, infrastructure, public safety and other vitally important social services. If we can get the economy right, most everything else falls into place.
- Governor Gary R. Herbert, Inaugural Address, Aug. 11, 2009
The Governor believes that true economic development means creating an environment that allows small businesses to flourish and attracts new business to the State, while fostering innovation and ensuring that Utah's workforce is prepared for the jobs of the future.
The Governor outlined his threefold economic development strategy during his inaugural address in August 2009, and remains committed to the approach today.
- Support and protect local businesses
- Help Utah businesses grow and succeed
- Proactively recruit companies to Utah
Governor Herbert's focus is demonstrated daily through efforts at the Governor's Office of Economic Development. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the State.
Since taking office, Governor Herbert has announced some of the most exciting economic development projects the State of Utah has ever seen. From companies with a national and international presence such as eBay and Goldman Sachs to Utah start-ups that are finding huge success such as Edwards Lifesciences and Petersen Inc., the Governor has helped shepherd in projects that will have a lasting impact on Utah's economy.
In his inaugural address, Governor Herbert pledged his commitment to Utah businesses, stating: "My commitment to you is that, first and foremost, we will recognize the great significant importance of our own local businesses and work with you for your continued success."
Since taking office, the Governor's actions have supported his statement. Already this year as he has traveled the State, Governor Herbert has made it a priority to visit with owners and employees at Utah businesses to discover how he can contribute to their future success.
Under Governor Herbert's leadership, GOED has enhanced efforts through the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership - an exciting collaboration with leaders from industry, state government, higher education and the State's research community to significantly increase the economic impact of our most important industry clusters.
Utah has identified seven such "economic clusters" that demonstrate the best potential for development. The initiative is designed around proven economic principles where collaboration among organizations offers sustainable advantages to local economies. Based on successful economic models, Utah is capitalizing on its core strengths and facilitating the development of clustered business environments where these strengths will result in a thriving economy and an increased standard of living.
Despite challenging economic times in our country and in our state, Utah continues to experience positive economic outcomes. Job growth is happening in Utah, both within existing Utah companies and as out-of-state businesses discover Utah as one of the best states in the nation to live and to do business.
So far in Fiscal Year 2010, corporate recruitment incentive offers from the Governor's Office of Economic Development has resulted in the creation of 3,386 new jobs, nearly $3 billion in new state wages, some $250 million in capital investment and $260 million in new state revenue over the life of the incentives.
Many of these incentives have been awarded to companies with existing Utah operations and still more have helped expand critical economic clusters - all of which results in high-tech, high-paying jobs that are here to stay.
These post-performance incentives have helped more than a dozen Utah businesses find success in the last year and encouraged Procter & Gamble to locate its first North American plant in more than three decades in Northern Utah - hiring 10 Utahns among its first Utah employees.
Shortly after taking office, Governor Herbert recruited Josh Romney to act as an Ambassador of sorts and promote the State as a premier business destination through Utah's West Coast Initiative. That effort, as well as a larger national campaign, is beginning to reap rewards, with many out-of-state businesses expressing interest in relocating to the Beehive State. While focusing on our local companies will always be the Governor's top priority, a global mindset is crucial to true economic success.
The tourism industry is also flourishing in Utah. Traveler spending reached near-record levels in 2009, equaling approximately $6.2 billion, with some $625 million going directly to state and local tax revenues. Governor Herbert is committed to promoting travel and tourism in Utah, and supporting an industry that currently employs more than 100,000 Utahns.
And, finally, Utah is beginning to return to the heyday of John Wayne and John Ford with major motion pictures being filmed in the state under Governor Herbert's stewardship. As Lt. Governor and now as Governor, he has been a key supporter of the Motion Picture Incentive Fund which has brought major film projects, such as "127 Hours" and the "John Carter of Mars" series, to the State. Before wrapping up in May, "127 Hours" - directed by Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of "Slumdog Millionaire" - employed more than 150 Utahns and pumped approximately $14 million into Utah's economy.
Governor Herbert is clearly dedicated to Utah's economy. His focus on the "Three Es" - economic development, education and energy - has helped Utah weather the country's economic storm and is positioning the State for success today, and well into the future.