Gov. Herbert, Mitt Romney discuss economy in special forum

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Gov. Gary R. Herbert and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney addressed a sellout crowd last week at an economic development forum in Salt Lake City.

Gov. Herbert spoke about the necessity for states to exert control over policies like health care and education, and the need for Washington to treat states as equal partners to address national challenges.

He also outlined some of the guiding principles used to make decisions in Utah and quantified how Utahns have benefited from good governance that supports economic development and helps businesses to grow.

“Things are done differently in Utah,” he told the crowd. “Our national debt is now over $18 trillion. In Utah, we believe in balancing the budget every year — and we often wind up with a budget surplus. Utah finished the 2014 fiscal budget year with a $166 million surplus.”

Real leadership is found in successful states, like Utah.

So just how does Utah stack up to the nation as a whole?

  • Utah’s private sector job growth rate stands at 3.9 percent compared to 2.2 percent nationally.
  • Utah’s unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, more than 2 full percentage points lower than the national unemployment rate.
  • Utah has the 4th most diverse economy in the nation.

Utah’s successes are a result of our commitment to proven principles of good governance:

  • Low taxes – Utah residents’ tax burden is the lowest it has been in 20 years.
  • Sensible regulations – Utah has cut hundreds of onerous regulations at the state level and the governor is working with cities across Utah to encourage them to do the same.
  • Living within our means – Utah consistently balances its budget and in 2014, our operational efficiencies resulted in a $166 million budget surplus.
  • Saving for a rainy day – Utah’s Rainy Day Fund is approximately $478 million – larger than the balance BEFORE the Great Recession.
  • Empowering the private marketplace to create jobs and grow the economy – Three years ago, Gov. Herbert set a goal for accelerating job growth in Utah by creating 100,000 private sector jobs in 1,000 days. The private sector met and exceeded that goal by more than 10 percent, creating 112,000 new jobs in 1,000 days.
  • More efficient government –  In 2000, there was one state employee for every 112 Utahns; today, that ratio is one state employee for every 146 Utahns.