SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert says the state of the Beehive state is strong and the economy is booming. In his 11th and final State of the State address on Wednesday night, Governor Herbert reached out to Utahns, thanking them for their contributions, helping to make Utah one of the best places in the nation to live.
“The state of our state is, well, it’s just the best. And by the way, Utah has led the way in the past. We’ve gathered here at the start of not just a new legislative session, but at the literal dawn of a new decade. Our quality of life has never been better. And our future has never been brighter,” beamed the Governor to a joint session of the legislature.
Utah begins the new decade with record-low unemployment, at 2.3%. Herbert pointed to other positive numbers, including a 7% personal income growth rate, the second-highest in the nation, and the lowest state tax obligation in 27 years.
Herbert hearkened back to a time when Utah’s pioneer ancestors made the tough and arduous journey to the Salt Lake Valley, literally blazing the trail for those who would follow. He singled out Mohammad Alsoudani as an example of the trails modern-day pioneers are creating, helping make Utah the modern-day success that it has become. Alsoudani, an Iraqi refugee who came to the United States six years ago, graduated high school and took computer programming classes at the Refugee Education and Training Center, and is now making a six-figure salary.
On the subject of growth, Utah is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S. Population here is expected to reach 5.8 million people by 2026. Herbert stressed to state lawmakers the need to address infrastructure for roadways, housing needs, transportation problems and challenges to air quality.
In the Democratic party response, Senate minority leader Karen Mayne (D-West Valley) spoke to the welfare of Utah’s workers, saying the state’s economic successes should benefit everyone.
“Utahns work hard, and deserve to receive fair compensation and benefits for their labor. Utah’s working families are the engine that keeps the state running and we are dedicated to supporting them by promoting fair wages and workplace protections to keep our men and women safe from harm,” said Mayne.
Utah Senate president Stuart Adams responded to Governor Herbert’s speech, saying he appreciates Gov. Herbert’s commitment to education, air quality, and transportation infrastructure.
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