Utah is consistently ranked as one of the best states in the nation to start a business. It has a booming economy with extensive tax benefits, an exceptional workforce trained in a competitive educational system, and a high quality of life coupled with a low cost of living and doing business.
Economics and Taxes
Each year for more than two decades the Governor of Utah has issued an economic report that provides detailed information about the health of the state’s economy. It is created in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and the David Eccles School of Business and put together by the Utah Economic Council. According to this annual report, the Utah economy is not only healthy, it is experiencing expansion in all major sectors and is expecting similar growth in 2017. Some of the most influential sectors in the state include software development and IT, financial services, life sciences, aerospace and defense, and outdoor recreation. Sectors poised to become major players in the state’s economy include digital media, renewable energy, and food manufacturing.
There are numerous tax incentives available for businesses in the state which can be optimized with the help of an experienced accountant. Salt Lake City is the largest metropolitan area in the state and has become a hub of economic growth but other areas are quickly gaining popularity due to incentives such as the Research Tax Credits, Renewable Energy Development Incentive, and Rural Fast Track Program which are helping to facilitate growth in the more rural areas of the state. Other important tax incentives include the Sales Tax Exemption for Manufacturing Equipment, the Enterprise Zone Tax Credits, and the Industrial Assistance Fund.
Workforce and Education
The existing workforce and labor environment are another boon for business owners. The state has one of the youngest populations in the nation and is firmly established as a right-to-work state with one of the lowest percentages of unionized workers in the country. The population is considered a tech-ready labor pool which has been heavily influenced by the education policies of the state.
Utah has worked diligently to ensure technology is at the forefront of the curriculum as well as a focus on foreign languages. This has resulted in a high percentage of students who are technically proficient, a high graduation rate, and a college population with an 80 percent fluency rate in a foreign language.
Quality of Life and Cost of Living
Quality of life and cost of living may initially seem to be most important for those who are working in a state rather than those who are providing that work, but it is relevant to both. A high quality of life and low cost of living make it easier for businesses to find workers who meet the standards of the company and who can be paid a wage that is equitable for them and the company.
Some of the contributing factors to these include the energy market, transportation, and healthcare. The state has a comprehensive system of developing renewable energy resources alongside fossil fuels. The state is connected by two major interstates, an international airport, robust rail system, and an extensive public transportation system. The healthcare sector in Utah has facilitated the state’s consistent ranking as one of the healthiest in the nation. Residents pay the least for healthcare and the state government has dedicated resources to constantly improving the system.
The cost of doing business is also low. It has been about 13 percent lower than the national average for the last several years. This has a lot to do with being one of the top-ranked states in regards to business costs and labor supply. But the state also has a low level of governmental regulation on business and numerous financial incentives to encourage business growth and development.
There are many businesses that have already begun to reap the benefits of operating in Utah. As companies continue to share their experience of the growth potential and business friendly policies of the state the state has continued to gain a reputation for being the place to start new endeavors. Anyone who is looking for a great place to launch an entrepreneurial adventure or growth for an existing enterprise should carefully consider this state before making a final decision.