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Davis Journal

Senate President predicts successful legislative session

Jan 12, 2023 12:12PM ● By Becky Ginos

Senate President Stuart Adams is optimistic about the upcoming legislative session that starts Jan. 17. Adams said 2023 will be the year of the tax cuts. Photo by Becky Ginos

UTAH STATE CAPITOL—The 2023 Legislative Session kicks off on Jan. 17 and promises to be filled with highs and lows as lawmakers consider more than 1,000 bills with more than 500 passed. Senate President Stuart Adams predicts some major things will come out of the session.

“Utah has the best economy in the nation,” said Adams. “Unemployment is low and because of that strong economy we’re able to do tax cuts. This will be the year of the tax cuts again three  years in a row.”

Normally the legislature either funds programs or cuts taxes, he said. “It’s difficult to do both but we’ll be able to make tax cuts and fund programs.”

For three years in a row the legislature has funded education at record levels, Adams said. “Part of that funding will be a significant WPU and for the first time in the history of the state we’ll fund directly to teacher compensation. We found that even though we funded education, teacher compensation has not kept up.”

Adams said they’ve become more aware, especially during the pandemic, that parents want more input on education. “In a recent Dan Jones poll 60% of the population wanted to be able to take education tax dollars to the school of their choice.”

Legislators will probably do all of that this session, he said. “Give flexibility to parents, teacher compensation and tax cuts for struggling families.”

They’ll continue to fund infrastructure, said Adams. “We’re the fastest growing state. A lot is being done in Davis County. Highway 89 will be done next year and they continue to work on the West Davis Corridor. UDOT has started an environmental impact study for the I-15 expansion.”

Water continues to be an issue, he said. “We’ve funded millions of dollars into water infrastructure. We’re grateful for the snow pack. It’s up 180% of normal. Utah is the second driest state so we need to spend money to try and conserve water.”

Conserving water and developing water infrastructure will bring water flow to the Great Salt Lake as well, said Adams. “We have to pursue innovative ways to help the Great Salt Lake.”

Another area that needs improvement is FrontRunner, he said. “It needs to be as convenient as driving an automobile. It takes a significantly longer time. It must be faster, have double tracks and be electrified. We’ve appropriated $300 million – it’s going to be a ton of work.”

Another freeway isn’t going to be built, Adams said. “There’s congestion through Centerville and Point of the Mountain, FrontRunner has got to be the answer to function better.”

Adams is also concerned that Utah is losing its middle class. “New families are renting and not buying homes,” he said. “We need to find ways to help first time home buyers like bringing back state money for reduced mortgage rates. We’ll keep working on that. If they’re renting they’re not building equity and appreciation but they don’t have the pride of ownership.”

There are more bills that have been drafted than ever before, said Adams. “We’ll have a lot of work this year. Utah has managed its affairs well. If we spend less than we make it gives us the ability to do what we need to. We’re in a great spot in the state of Utah.”

Adams served as Senate President last year and looks forward to this session. “It’s an honor to serve,” he said. “We (legislature) believe that we do a good job with taxes and regulatory policy and that helps our economy.”

But the real secret of Utah is not policy but the people, said Adams. “We have moral and honest people and because of their work ethic and integrity they create the best economy in the nation.”

It’s been a fun opportunity to serve in Utah, he said. “It’s my honor to be in the position that I’m in right now.”