The "Governor's Blueprint for Utah's Economic Future" was published this week, and the state's annual "mission statement" by which the Department of Community and Economic Development and others will track the local economy in the 1990s retains much of the focus developed in the 1980s.
What changes there are, said the governor, who handed out the new report at Wednesday's meeting of the Legislature's Economic Development Interim Committee, center around new efforts to make the work force more "market driven" and do more "fine tuning" of existing programs, all of which will be subject to ongoing review.Joint cooperation and action are the keys for successful economic development, the governor states in the blueprint's cover letter. With the Economic Development department taking the lead, the effort involves community, business, education and government leaders working in a unified way on three basic strategies:
1. Target business retention and expansion. By nurturing and caring for the needs of the state's existing businesses, says the blueprint, "we improve their chances to succeed and help them to grow in Utah rather than move out of state."
2. Focus on business creation and expansion. By helping existing businesses and entrepreneurs take their ideas from the conceptual stage to the marketplace, "these new businesses will develop this part of Utah's great human and technological resources."
3. Recruit new businesses to Utah. By attracting businesses and investors from outside Utah, "we provide our trained work force with expanding economic opportunities while, at the same time, broadening our tax base."
But economic development for its own sake is not enough, the governor stressed. The message of the blueprint is that the point is to "assist in creating wealth" for Utahns. This means:
- Economic development must result in a better quality of life for Utahns.
- The public and private sectors must be encouraged to share a common vision for economic development.
- The necessary infrastructure must be provided for future business growth and development.
Another major goal of economic development, says the report, is to meet or exceed the nation's average household income by 1995, a feat that means the average Utah family would be taking home nearly $5,000 per year more than now.
"The creation of individual wealth is the basis of economic development," the blueprint states. "It is through improved individual and household income that quality of life improves and the overall economy grows. To develop the economic environment in which individual wealth is enhanced, Utah must provide workers with opportunities for good-paying jobs (and) continue our current rate of job creation."
Utah is in the midst of extended economic growth, says the report, and these challenges can be met in this decade. The state's overall unemployment rate is below the national average, the outmigration of recent years has declined and economic indicators for the near future "are encouraging."