It will take at least two years before tangible results come from efforts of the Utah Economic Development Corp., a public/private partnership of 12 Salt Lake County communities consolidating economic development activities.
That word comes from Richard D. Thrasher Jr., UEDC president and chief executive officer, who said momentum has been established and the organization already has been involved in attracting some business to Utah."We have momentum, but it will take at least two years before the results begin to occur faster," Thrasher told members of the Salt Lake Rotary Club in the Marriott Hotel Tuesday.
Answering a question about the ways UEDC will attract business, Thrasher said he and his staff will attend trade shows, knock on doors and talk to company officials in an attempt to have them relocate or expand into Utah.
Thrasher, who was hired last May, said UEDC is a consolidation of 12 governmental entities and eight chambers of commerce in Salt Lake County concerned with economic development with the goal of attracting business and helping existing businesses.
UEDC is proposing a budget of $850,000 of which only $67,000 will come from the state. Because of the large number of entities, each organization involved will be subordinate to UEDC in promoting economic development.
Thrasher said Utah has stiff competition from other states offering huge incentives to have business establish large plants with hundreds of new jobs. Even though attracting business to a certain area is a costly adventure, it pays big dividends in jobs, tax revenue and payrolls, he said.
He said even though some big incentives might be necessary to attract business to the state, he cautioned against large land giveaways and public subsidies for business.
Improving the state's economy comes from an infusion of money from outside the state in the form of film development and tourism and an injection of money that will be measured by the number of jobs created. Thrasher said he doesn't mind using the number of jobs as a measuring stick for the success of UEDC, but a more important criterion is the amount of investment capital coming to the state.
Besides attracting new business to the state, UEDC is involved in improving the rate of investment by existing Utah businesses, solving problems between business and government, encouraging export of Utah goods to foreign markets, selling more Utah goods to the federal government and producing better products than are being imported into the state.
Thrasher said he is concerned about Gov. Norm Bangerter cutting $5 million from his economic development budget and suggesting a $19 million tax reduction. He said the $19 million should go to public education for textbooks, computers and other materials necessary for outstanding schools.
A man who previously worked in economic development in Florida and Indiana, Thrasher said Utahns need to quit apologizing for being Utahns. "If Utahns were Texans (with their reputation for bragging), Utah would have the most advanced economy in the United States," he said.