Aides to Gov. Norm Bangerter say new companies may soon begin annoucing plans to move to Utah at the rate of one a week.
But officials in Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Wilson's campaign said Friday the sudden surge in economic development is nothing more than eleventh-hour politicking.Prior to boarding a private jet Thursday for a quick recruiting trip to California, Bangerter said he was visiting three high-tech firms and was confident the trip would pay off for Utah's economy.
And an aide to Bangerter later said new companies may soon begin announcing plans to move to Utah at the rate of one a week. The annoucements could come faster if the governor's schedule wasn't so busy.
But officials in the Wilson compaign said the sudden good news seems too much like a coincidence.
"We applaud Gov. Bangerter's efforts, late as they may be," said Rob Jolley, Wilson's campaign manager. "The question is, if they (Bangerter's administration) were doing such a good job with economic development, why weren't they announcing one company a week during the rest of his term?"
Bangerter made the trip with Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, and millionaire industrialist Jon Huntsman immediately after returning from the Republican National Convention in New Orleans.
The three were hoping to recruit investments in Utah from Signetics Corp., Apple Computers Inc. and Hewlett-Packard. The trip was arranged by Huntsman and the state's Department of Economic Development.
The trip was not expected to pay off immediately. Signetics officials said earlier this week they will eventually expand. Bangerter, Garn and Huntsman made the trip to persuade the company to expand in Utah, rather than in New Mexico, said Neil Bullock, manager of the Signetics plant in Orem.
Bangerter, whose term has been hampered by a sluggish state economy, was elated by announcements in recent weeks that PEPCON, a rocket fuel manufacturer, and Everex, a microcomputer company, were planning to build plants in southern Utah.
He also was encouraged by a recent Inc. Magazine survey that ranked Utah 15th in the nation in terms of strong economies. Although the state slipped from a 12th-place ranking last year, Utah fared better than all but four Western states.
"We think that's significant," Bangerter said. "We've done this without our traditional base of extraction industries.
"I think we've seen some good announcements in the last 30 days and we will see more in the next two months."
Bangerter's aides, encouraged by the recent good news, hope it will help the governor gain ground in his fight for re-election against Wilson.
Jolley said Wilson's staff welcomes the new businesses, but believes the state should pay more attention to businesses already here.
"The businesses we already have in the state create a majority of the new jobs," he said.
Bangerter said he wanted Sig-netics, Apple and Hewlett-Packard to know Utah welcomes them. He planned to tell company officials about the state's opportunities, education system and dedicated work force, he said before boarding the plane.
"We think they can come to Utah and be more profitable," Bangerter said.