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OPINION: Anderegg shares legislative priorities

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Jake Anderegg | Utah State Senator

Heading into the 2023 General Session, the Senate Majority caucus is advocating to strengthen the state by keeping Utah affordable, promoting innovation and making decisions that positively impact both today and future generations.

Specifically, the Senate Majority developed three primary priorities it believes are some of the highest priorities and challenges facing the State. We are focused on increasing teacher salaries,

finding long-term solutions to Utah’s water crisis and cutting taxes to keep Utah’s economy and thriving business community the best in the nation.

Increasing Teacher Salaries

Since 2015, Utah has spent approximately half of all state funds on public education and increased annual public education spending by 61% from $2.8 billion to $4.4 billion. When other states were laying off teachers during COVID-19, we gave teachers bonuses. In Utah, we recognize all the hard work teachers have been doing and want to show our support and appreciation. In this session, we plan to raise teachers’ salaries directly. The discussions are circling around a teacher pay increase somewhere in the ballpark of $1.5 billion in additional funding.

Finding a Long-term Solution to Utah’s Water Crisis

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In recent years, we have experienced a worsening drought mainly due to unpredictable weather. Our state needs to find a solution to our water challenges. As the fastest-growing state in the nation, we must find a lasting fix to ensure our state’s survival for generations to come. We are currently looking at options to help our state’s water challenges and to help all Western states that struggle with drought and inconsistent water output. As state leaders, we will work to solve Utah’s water capacity issues, including finding a multi-state solution andmore effective conservation efforts and solutions.

Cutting Taxes to Keep Utah the Best Economy

Forward-thinking policies combined with the tenacity of Utah’s workforce have kept our state’s economy and job market strong. We are the state that responded best to COVID-19, focusing on saving both lives and livelihoods. Utah has the number one economy and tops the list for economic outlook. However, we are facing the highest inflation in 40 years. We must work to keep businesses and the economy strong, making it possible for Utahns to provide for their families. After reducing taxes two years in a row, we will be cutting taxes again, giving money back to Utahns when they need it most.

Although there will be many other issues discussed and policies enacted, these three top priorities are the “big rocks” the legislature will be focused on addressing this year. We are a part-time legislature working hard to ensure Utah’s needs are addressed.

If there are any issues you need us to know about and consider, please reach out and let me know how we can help. I can be reached via email at janderegg@le.utah.gov or via cell phone at (801) 901-3580. I look forward to hearing from you.

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