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Governor gives annual State of the State address

Photo: Spenser Heaps, KSL

SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Gary Herbert delivered his 10th annual State of the State address Wednesday night at the Utah State Capitol.  Tax cuts and tax reform were among several subjects he discussed, including his wish to cut taxes overall by $200 million.   He talked about education, and money allocated for improved school safety.  On the issue of the environment, he laid out some ideas on how to clean up Utah’s air, particularly bad during winter months.

On the subject of education, Governor Herbert says he supports Rep. Jefferson Moss’ bill to strengthen the curriculum in required financial literacy courses to include instruction in free market capitalism.

“It is absolutely imperative that Utah high school graduates understand not only their civic responsibility and the principles of our nation’s founding and the constitution but also the basic economic principles of free market economic capitalism that has made America great,” said the Governor.

He then spoke on what to do about Utah’s notoriously dirty air during winter months, setting a goal of a 25 percent reduction per capita on emissions across the state by 2026.  Part of that plan, he says, is a down payment of $100 million for data-driven improvements in air quality.

He also wants the state to make electric vehicle charging stations more accessible and convenient statewide, providing additional stations at state facilities and private businesses.

In perhaps a nod to today’s political and economic divisions that deeply divide Americans, Governor Herbert reminded us of a significant state milestone coming this spring – the 150th anniversary of the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of that accomplishment for unifying a nation, fragmented by a civil war and divided by geography,” said the Governor.  “It made us the crossroads of the West, opening up Utah’s abundant resources to national and international commerce.”

Governor Herbert welcomed family members of five of Utah’s finest, lost in the line of duty, including West Valley code officer Jill Robinson, Draper Fire Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett, National Guard Major and North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, South Salt Lake police officer David Romrell and Provo police officer Joseph Shinners.

The Democratic party response followed, featuring several speakers, including Senator Karen Mayne. Senator Mayne brought up voter passage of Medicaid expansion.  She says legislative limitations on that expansion go against the wishes of the voters and hurts those who need it the most.