SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 21, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Spencer Cox. outlined key public policy priorities during his 2021 State of the State address Thursday evening.
The address, which ran a little over 15 minutes, began at 6:30 p.m. in the House Chamber of the Utah State Capitol.
The full speech may be viewed above; read on for some of the governor’s key points.
On the fight against COVID-19: “More than 1,500 Utahns are not with us tonight because of this insidious disease.
“Our healthcare professionals, public health servants, first responders, businesses, workers, seniors and children… truly every single citizen of this state has made enormous sacrifices to save lives and keep our economy open.
“Tonight we salute you and say to all Utahns that help is on the way.”
On education: “(Teachers) deserve our respect. And they deserve a raise. I’m grateful to you legislators who agree and have pledged historic education funding this year, including $112 million dollars in bonuses for our teachers. In addition, I have proposed a nearly 6% increase in our state’s education funding — more than $400 million in all.
“And while I just referred to these investments as ‘historic,’ I’m looking forward to them becoming routine.”
On the budget: “Thanks to the past actions of many in this room and my predecessor, Gov. Gary Herbert, this legislative session we have the most unique of opportunities: a chance to reduce taxes AND provide historic investments for infrastructure.
“By providing an $80 million tax cut targeted at senior citizens and Utah families, we can improve the quality of life for scores of Utahns, while simultaneously investing significant new funding for transportation, water, recreation and broadband infrastructure that will benefit every Utahn on and off the Wasatch Front for generations to come.”
On equality: “Over the past year, we have had some critical conversations around race and justice. And if I can be so bold, putting up a sign or joining a rally isn’t enough. The best way we can bring to life the American promise — of liberty and justice for all — is to make sure that every single child, brown or Black, rural or urban, has the same opportunity as every other child. In Utah, it shouldn’t matter what side of I-15 you were born on — or in my case, on what side of the Payson-Dixon line you happen to live — every child in this state deserves a great education from a high-quality, well-compensated teacher. I ask you to join me in this effort.”
On opportunity: “The greatest infrastructure investment of all, is investing in our people. All the jobs in the world are meaningless if our people aren’t qualified for those jobs. Job growth or GDP growth must never be seen as an end in itself. Economic growth is merely a means to an end… and that end is that the people of Utah can achieve the American dream.”
On unity: “It’s not government that makes our country special. It’s volunteer organizations and churches and philanthropists and neighbors taking care of each other and solving problems so government doesn’t have to.
“In short, if we want smaller government, we need bigger people.”