Boost in funding is sought for Utah economic development – $8 million should be north of $16 (million) or $17 million

The state’s economic development team wants to fill some "gaps" in infrastructure and processes and likely will seek more general fund money to do so.

Martin Frey, managing director of economic development for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, briefed the GOED board Friday on priorities and strategies for the 2006-07 fiscal year prior to an afternoon meeting with Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

The board, with a few exceptions, seemed to concur with his approach but took no vote on the matter.

Frey noted that the state’s economic development/business recruitment budget from the general fund has been flat for years, at about $8 million. To keep up with inflation, the figure should be much higher, he said.

"We should be north of $16 (million) or $17 million. What we as a state have actually done is decrease the proportion of the state budget that we invest in economic development over the years, and what we’re proposing is that we actually significantly invest to catch up," Frey told the board.

By Brice Wallace
Deseret Morning News

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