Pandemic helps shape Salt Lake Chamber priorities for upcoming Legislature

A sign welcoming people to downtown Salt Lake City is pictured on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

A sign welcoming people to downtown Salt Lake City is pictured on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Group wants to see moratorium on new regulations as businesses try to bounce back

SALT LAKE CITY — With the coronavirus pandemic still casting a large shadow over global, national and state economies, local business leaders are urging Utah lawmakers to focus their efforts on strategies that will help the Beehive State become an example of resiliency that others could follow.

The Salt Lake Chamber is releasing its list of legislative priorities for the upcoming 2021 Legislature scheduled to run Jan. 19 through March 5. While the state’s economy has fared better than most, there are still lingering issues that need to be addressed before Utahns can begin to recover fully from the impact of the COIVD-19 outbreak, according to the organization’s top executive.

“We are still in the middle of the pandemic. We see the light at the end of the tunnel, the light is real,” said chamber President and CEO Derek Miller. “The vaccine is the real deal and we’re going to get through this pandemic, but for now that light is still just a pinpoint and we still have a long, dark tunnel to walk through.”

He said the most important thing that can be done for the economy has very little to do with traditional economics, but everything to do with combating the coronavirus.

“The No. 1 battle, right now, is vaccine distribution. The policy priority for us as it relates to getting through the pandemic is making sure that government works hand in hand with the business community ensuring that we have a well-thought-out and well-executed vaccine distribution,” he told the Deseret News. “Business, I believe, has an important role to play in this by communicating and developing confidence in our employees and being able to take the vaccine. Of course, the vaccine has to be available to them, so that’s on the government side.”

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He said this year the chamber is dually focused on short-term recovery related to health care and equally focused on long-term prosperity regarding its legislative and business advocacy agenda.

“We’re really pleased to work closely with the Utah Department of Health, for example, on the ‘stay safe to stay open’ campaign,” he said. “We hope that we’ll be able to continue to work with state officials on the vaccine distribution.”

“Our message to the Legislature and this new governor administration in Utah had going into the pandemic the best-performing economy in the country. That was due to having the best business climate in the country,” Miller said. “Relatively speaking, our economy overall is still doing well. But let’s not do anything that would (harm) the very strong business climate that was built over the last 10 to 15 years.”

To that point, he said the group will ask for a moratorium on new business regulation.

“These businesses — especially small businesses — they’re spending every single day focused on keeping their doors open and keeping their people employed in …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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