"It's time to put up or shut up," R. D. Cash, president and chief executive officer of Questar Corp., said during the kickoff of a Utah Economic Development Corp. campaign to raise $7 million in the next five years to boost economic development in Salt Lake County.
He addressed his remarks Tuesday to the business community because 11 communities and Salt Lake County have pledged $3.5 million of the total to reach the goal of generating 44,000 new jobs by 1994, increasing the market for goods and services by $2.7 billion and attracting $3 billion in new capital.During his short remarks in Little America Hotel, Cash said other areas are spending plenty of money on economic development and the $7 million being requested by UEDC will just keep Utah even in the competition to attract new jobs and retain jobs in existing businesses.
"It's a matter of survival," said Cash, who also is a member of the Target '94 campaign steering committee. He said much planning has gone into creation of UEDC and the fund-raising campaign, and now "it's time to go to work."
To raise the $3.5 million from the private sector, UEDC has temporarily hired Tom Suddes, president of the Suddes Group, Columbus, Ohio, and Jim Yoder and Jim McGraw, who will be contacting businesses for a "financial investment" in economic development.
Suddes said many cities are spending enormous amounts of money to change their image in an effort to attract business. Salt Lake County doesn't need to do that, he said, because it already has a favorable image.
It was UEDC that spent $350,000 several months ago on the "Utah: A pretty, great state" campaign that had the goal of encouraging Utahns to feel good about their state.
Suddes said UEDC can realize its goal of 44,000 new jobs in five years by spending $7 million. That is only $160 per job, and anyone would pay that amount for new jobs.
Wm. James Mortimer, president and publisher of the Deseret News, who also is a member of the campaign steering committee, said, "If we are to succeed in this effort, the private sector must cooperate with the public sector." He also spoke as chairman of the board of governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, which was involved in creating the UEDC.
Salt Lake County Commissioner Bart Barker said the county has an uneven revenue source with property taxes the main source of income. Even with inflation, property taxes don't increase much so the county is faced with providing more services at the same time budgets are cut.
Economic development is the best answer to broaden the tax base, and that's the reason the county put up $105,000 to get UEDC started. Now that UEDC has existed for 18 months, Barker said the county has pledged $400,000 annually for the next five years and the cities in the county also will increase their pledges.
Rich Thrasher, UEDC president and chief executive officer, who assumed his position a year ago after several years of economic development in Lakeland, Fla., said efforts by the UEDC and others, like the state, involved in economic development have halted the out-migration from Utah.
Working in concert with other entities, Thrasher said UEDC has quietly, yet aggressively, helped in attracting 2,800 new jobs to the state and other company expansions to Utah will be announced soon. He said the Target '94 campaign will allow Utah to command its place in the world market.
Goals of campaign
_ Attract and encourage national and international business to relocate and invest in the area, ensuring a diverse economic base.
_ Retain, enhance and expand existing businesses.
_ Enhance regional, national and international corporate decisionmakers' awareness of Utah and the Salt Lake area.
_ Identify and document the area's strengths and continuing development and communicate these strengths in credible, creative and effective ways.
_ Strengthen the public-private partnerships necessary to maximize the return on economic development investments.