Jon Huntsman, Jr. is running to be the governor for all Utahns, with a plan aimed at leading Utah into the next decade of prosperity.
Over the past 15 years, Utah has led the nation as one of the fastest-growing states and one of the strongest and most diverse economies. The foundation for Utah’s growth over the past 15 years, was laid in 2007 when Governor Huntsman simplified our tax structure by adopting a flat income tax at 5% and cut the food tax to 1.75%. Overall, that cut taxes by more than $400 million — the largest tax cut in the state’s history.
With growth comes both significant challenges and tremendous opportunities. The decisions we make over the next four years will have far-reaching impacts on our quality of life for decades to come.
A growing population means we have more students to educate. The strength of our economy is directly dependent on our ability to provide every Utah student with a quality education that prepares them to compete in a dynamic and global marketplace. Improving the connection between businesses that depend on a talented and skilled workforce and providing teachers with the resources they need are all critical to our future prosperity.
In the absence of leadership, growth can quickly become synonymous with congestion. Clogged transportation arteries are disastrous for the economy and diminish our quality of life. Idling cars on freeways also wreak havoc on air quality along the Wasatch Front, as well as other parts of our state. Keeping people and goods moving throughout our state as the Crossroads of the West becomes the Crossroads of the World must be central to our vision for the future.
Utah’s success has not gone unnoticed. More and more, people and businesses see our state as a place they want to be. The challenge is clear. Taking advantage of the opportunities before us will require the kind of vision that got us here in the first place. The kind of vision Jon is prepared to offer.
Utah has had a collective failure when it comes to mental health and it is a crisis that must not be ignored. As a community, we don’t know how to talk about mental health issues, despite the fact these issues – including suicide – are more openly discussed today than in the past. We have a long way to go.
Today, too many of our people are hurting, and doing so in silence. We need bold leadership that won’t shrink and pretend there isn’t a problem; leadership that will bring the best practices to the forefront and use the convening power of the Governor’s office to bring people together to address this crisis in our families and communities. As a State, it is time to make sure those who suffer know they are not in this alone and that we are eager to help them get the care they need.
While Utah’s urban areas have been growing and have experienced an extended period of economic prosperity, the same cannot always be said for the rural parts of our state. We simply cannot be satisfied with one level of economic prosperity along the Wasatch front and another for the families living in Utah’s rural areas.
To help Utah reach its full potential, we need all Utahns to have access to quality public and higher education, top-notch healthcare services and economic growth opportunities. Jon recently traveled to all 29 counties – as he has so many times before – and he’s heard inspiring stories of people who want to stay where they’ve grown up, companies who want to grow and workers who need more skills. As governor, Jon will make it a top priority to ensure rural Utah isn’t left behind as our state and our economy grow.
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