Economic Development

Under my watch, Orem will be open for business

I am campaigning on a platform, which will ensure we have a prosperous and safe future, using the acronym LEAD:

Leadership
Economic Development
Accountability
Dedication

Each of these points is vital to Orem’s future but perhaps the most important one is Economic Development. Only through a robust, dynamic, and aggressive economic development plan will we strengthen Orem’s financial foundation and allow us to continue to be the best place to live, work, and play.

I have a plan that if we work together we will create an environment that will spur job and economic growth. My plan starts with a simple question: I believe as Mayor one thing I must do is to ask each day, and have each city employee ask, what can I do today to help our businesses and residents succeed?

Gov. Herbert

The best example of the proper mind-set to spur growth comes from Gov. Herbert and our Legislative leaders. They have sought to do two main things: establish a competitive tax rate and maintain a regulatory environment that will allow for long-term business growth. This approach has helped place Utah first in so many desirable categories like: Best place for business, Best place for careers, Most Livable, Top 10 for Jobs. In fact Orem/Provo was again named top ten for Jobs by Forbes Magazine – No. 2 Best Midsized City.

GOED logo

I will follow this example and proven path to demonstrate Orem is a Home-run for starting a business. We have done it before. Wordperfect and Novell, both local success-stories, can happen again. As we become known more broadly as Silicon Slopes, business incubators and start-ups will flourish here. That is why I will aggressively participate with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to attract national companies looking to take advantage of our excellent workforce and quality of life…two factors often named by companies looking to locate here in Utah. Currently Orem is not on this program. This is a mistake I will remedy on day one.

Our goal is to increase Sales Tax Revenue: We need businesses to make Orem their home because an increase in jobs will lead to an increase in retail sales, which is the key to Orem’s strong economic future. The most important revenue source for local municipalities is Sale Tax. Property Taxes largely go to the School District to educate our children. But Sales Taxes stay here in Orem.

Sales tax revenue is also an element of economic development that we can influence through our zoning laws, sign ordinances, and general development agenda. In other words, we control our future and how much we receive.

Sales Tax History

I hope you are getting the picture. Orem has enjoyed a traditionally dependable stream of sales tax revenue, but we were hit hard by the economic downturn and through stiff competition from neighboring communities. We must send a clear signal today that we want businesses back.

So under my watch, Orem will be open for business.

I Have a Plan: To place Orem on a strong financial foundation and spur growth we must follow my 5-step plan to grow the pie:

  1. First, review each line of the budget to prioritize city functions. Every department of the city will be analyzed. Nothing is off the table. We will be the example of efficiency and transparency so businesses will know that when they partner with us, we understand their drive for success.
  2. Give Orem a seat with GOED. If we don’t have a voice, then we aren’t an option for visiting businesses. I will make sure our GOED Sure Site application is current and each site is approved and being marketed appropriately.
  3. Create and maintain an atmosphere that encourages business growth and job creation. We will invest in businesses by removing unnecessary regulations that hamper competition. A government should not pick winners and losers but rather get out of the way and let the free-market thrive. This means common sense sign ordinances and removing other restrictions on small businesses simply trying to attract customers. Partnering is the key and is an easy low-cost move we can take immediately.
  4. Work with UVU and other tech incubators to tap into local bright minds. Under my watch I will partner with UVU and BYU to give a home to local start-ups.
  5. Appoint an Economic Development Advisory Committee made up of local experts to tap into the great resources we have right here. A good idea may just need a mentor to make the difference between success and failure. The business community must have confidence that they have a partner in the Mayor. I have already received support from Val Hale and many other local business leaders.

Economic Development doesn’t just happen. I have a plan and know that together we can continue to make Orem the best place to live, work and play. We must signal to the world that Orem is open for business. I will ask as Mayor and ask each city employee, what can I do today to help our businesses prosper?