HOUSING + HOMELESSNESS

Governor Cox delivers State of the State Address, speaks to Utah’s youth

Jan 20, 2023, 9:13 AM | Updated: 11:19 am

Gov. Spencer Cox covered a broad range of issues Thursday night at the State of the State Address. ...

Gov. Spencer Cox delivers his 2023 State of the State address to the legislature at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox covered a broad range of issues Thursday night at the State of the State Address. The address focused on Utah’s water crisis, tax cuts, raises for teachers and affordable housing.

Cox wanted this speech to reach a very particular audience — Utah’s youth, prompting some lawmakers to bring a child, grandchild, niece or nephew to hear the speech in the audience.

(Listen to the full state of the union address below)

 

On the dire situation at the Great Salt Lake, Gov. Cox proposed another $500 million in water conservation investment in addition to new policy changes that will reduce per capita use.

“We find ourselves in the greatest drought in the western United States in over 1,200 years.  Earlier this month, a report predicted that in just five short years the Great Salt Lake will completely disappear.  Let me be absolutely clear. We are not going to let that happen,” he said.

Cox agrees with most Republican lawmakers in Utah that tax cuts geared to families need to be a priority. Acknowledging that Utahns know better how to spend surplus money than the government, he announced a historic $1 billion in tax relief for families to help offset cost of living increases.

Over the past two years we’ve already had a record $300 million tax cut. We have more money in savings than ever before,” Cox said. “We are one of the few states with a AAA bond rating and consistently recognized among the best managed and fiscally responsible states.  And, thanks to the people of our great state, we have the best economy in the country, which means we can do even more.” 

On teacher raises, Cox asked the legislature to help make this the “Year of the Teacher,” by giving every teacher the largest raise in the state’s history.

Cox said he is confident that housing costs can be affordable, with smart density, improved infrastructure, and focus on single-family starter homes.

In the address, Cox said he will work with the League of Cities and Towns and other stakeholders on legislation that will favor increased supply to help reduce the cost of housing.

The governor let lawmakers know Utah parents are ready for a fight with social media companies, who he said have “been reckless in protecting our youth.”

He said he is working with lawmakers on legislation that will keep data from kids out of the hands of big tech.

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Governor Cox delivers State of the State Address, speaks to Utah’s youth