Category Archives: Blog

A Diversity of Gifts

Originally published in Utah Business.

I recently met with a business leader who shared an instructive thought about the value of diversity in an organization. She said, “When I’m in a meeting and all the people are the same, I think, ‘What’s the point?’ Someone could leave the room and you would make the same decision.” She told me she valued diversity because it brought needed perspective to her leadership.

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Good choices allow Utahns to enjoy economic success

Originally published in the Deseret News.

You wouldn’t call somebody who just won the lottery “prosperous.” They may be rich and they are certainly lucky, but they are not prosperous. Prosperity has to be earned.

On Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert hosted his annual Utah Economic Summit. Unlike his first year in office when unemployment hovered around 8 percent, Utah’s unemployment rate now stands below 4 percent, a level many economists would call near-full employment.

The Utah economy created 32,200 jobs during the past 12 months and nearly every major industry is growing. Utah’s level of income equality is among the highest in the nation. The governor’s vision of having the state become one of the strongest economies in the nation and a global business destination has largely been met. It may just be time for the governor to claim victory and set an even higher bar.

I made up a new word that characterizes what’s happening in Utah: I like to think of Utahns as Prospertarians. Taken from the root word prosperity, Prospertarians are people who experience remarkable economic success because of the choices they make.

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Income Inequality Less of a Problem in Utah

Originally published in Utah Business.

“Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”

That classic line was made famous by Barry Switzer, the well-known Oklahoma football coach who was raised poor and went on to win a college football championship and the Super Bowl. And while I don’t hold him up as a role model, his famous quote about inequality and hubris hit a chord with me. We are all born into different economic circumstances and income inequality is a problem.

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Who are the real heroes of election reform?

Originally published in the Deseret News.

This week, the Utah Legislature passed landmark legislation that will improve and modernize Utah’s election system. The compromise negotiated by Sen. Curt Bramble and Rep. Dan McCay preserves Utah’s caucus-convention system, institutes a direct primary option, and opens primaries to non-affiliated voters. The result is an election system that will be far more open and expand choices for candidates and voters. The legislation will do much to improve Utah’s abysmal voter participation, which has fallen to one of the bottom 10 states in the nation.

So who are the real heroes in this principled compromise?

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Going to Pot

Originally published in Utah Business.

I read with interest New York Times writer David Brooks’ recent column on the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado. In typical Brooks fashion, he “smoked” the issue by pointing out that legalizing weed makes it “a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.”

I agree, and it got me thinking about the economic development advantage Utah will now have over Colorado because of its recent actions. The legalization of marijuana will make it harder for the Centennial State to be the kind of state it wants to be.

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Both Sides of the Aisle

Once a week I spend time in the KCPW radio studio debating the issues with State Senator Jim Dabakis and State Representative Greg Hughes. It’s a lot of fun and I always learn something when I interact with these two great guys. I represent the political center and fend off the extreme positions of my two colleagues. Give it a listen and see what you think:

Episode 18: February 13th

A consensus on moving the prison, the Pre-K bill, and a blockade formed by LGBT protesters.

Time to raise Utah’s motor fuel tax

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree.

This quip, made by Louisiana Sen. Russell Long, captures Utah’s approach to the motor fuel tax. We’ve been kicking the can down the road for 17 years. It’s time for a serious and informed discussion about raising Utah’s motor fuel tax to make up for lost purchasing power and improved fuel efficiency.

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Fast and Furious: Utah’s economy is ready to rock in 2014

Originally published in Utah Business.

I love the start of a new year. It’s a time to begin anew and take a fresh look at life. I find it’s also agood time to take a pause, learn from the past and build a better tomorrow.

The Utah Legislature understands the value of this type of introspection and long-term thinking. Last month they took time out of their busy schedules to attend a Legislative Policy Summit hosted by the David Eccles School of Business. It was my job to brief them on Utah’s current economic positioning. Here’s what I told them: Continue reading