SB123 will provide tax incentives
for job creations in Utah
By Ralph Okerlund
It has been another good week up here at the Capitol. With only two weeks left in the legislative session, things are certainly picking up speed. This week I had the opportunity to present on several bills and meet with constituents. Thank you to South Sevier Middle School for coming up to visit!
We are an outdoor state. With recreation and beautiful scenery, we are so lucky to live here. Another natural resource we treasure is our wildlife. Did you know when mule deer populations decline, predator populations can still remain large for up to eight years? This essentially plummets the population of the mule deer populations into crisis levels. This week I presented on a bill that will help to better preserve our wildlife populations. H.B. 125 Division of Wildlife Resources Amendments, permits the Director of the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to be proactive with potential population declines by managing predator populations. Currently, they only have the ability to do so after a population decline has taken place, this bill allows them to be more responsive before a crisis has set in. This bill passed in both the House and Senate and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.
For the last two years, the Legislature has worked on negotiations with Better Boundaries, the organization that sponsored Proposition 4 in 2018. Some provisions included in the original proposition were unconstitutional, and all sides understood the need to address this by making adjustments.
Through collaborative efforts, a promising bill has been produced. S.B. 200, Redistricting Amendments, preserves the core intent of Prop 4, including much of the original language, while resolving the constitutional roadblocks. Under this bill, there will still be an independent redistricting commission responsible for drafting maps for congressional, state legislative and school board districts. Utah Legislature allocated $1 million to fund the independent redistricting commission’s efforts so it can hire its staff and purchase software and equipment.
This bill still allows the independent commission to create maps and publicly submit maps for consideration, keeping the public informed and involved in the process. While the Legislature is not constitutionally obligated to accept all proposals, lawmakers and representatives of Better Boundaries believe this will make redistricting more transparent and fair.
Utah has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. While a low unemployment rate is good for our state, some Utahns are still unemployed. S.B. 123, Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit Act, provides a tax incentive to companies that create good jobs with wages at or above the county living wage in rural and underserved areas of the state.
This program provides a post-performance incentive for businesses creating jobs for the workers that need it most. Employers receiving this incentive must prioritize employment for disadvantaged populations: seniors, veterans, the disabled, former inmates and individuals previously on a Utah state welfare program. In addition, participating companies must create and staff a minimum number of these ongoing high-quality jobs or pay the incentive back to the state. This bill passed with unanimous support in the Senate and will now be considered by the House.
Thank you again for giving me this opportunity to serve in this position and represent you at our State’s Capitol. I appreciate your support and hope to hear from you throughout the session.