Business & Labor

Brian Grimmett

A couple of alcohol related bills managed to make their way through House committees Wednesday including one that would eliminate Utah’s so-called “Zion Curtain.”

HB228 eliminates provisions in Utah law that requires restaurants to keep open liquor bottles and the actual mixing of drinks out of public sight. Republican Rep. Gage Froerer voted in favor of the bill. He says the current law is an unnecessary obstacle.

Utah lawmakers are hoping to bring in millions of additional tax dollars from online retailers, but a bill being proposed might be in conflict with the U-S Constitution. Federal law currently allows the state to collect taxes from online retailers as long as they have a physical location in that state, like a store or distribution warehouse. Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Republican Senator Wayne Harper would empower Utah to collect taxes from some out-of-state online retailers.

The Utah House of Representatives voted Monday to allow restaurant patrons to order drinks before ordering food.  House Bill 218 would also make more liquor permits available for certain types of dining establishments. 

Under current statute, restaurant customers are required to order food if they want to order an alcoholic drink.  If they don’t, the restaurant may be fined 500 dollars, which happened to several Utah establishments recently.  Republican Gage Froerer of Huntsville says his bill will clarify the state’s policy and prevent future fines.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced new tax incentives for three companies on Thursday.  One is doTerra, a company that makes essential oils – plant extracts that it sells through a network of independent distributors.  It’s promised to bring 330 new jobs to its company headquarters in Pleasant Grove in product testing and development, customer support and other positions.  For that, it will get 16-point-6 million dollars in tax credits over ten years.

After losing out on a contract with Salt Lake City to provide taxi cab service to and from the Salt Lake City International Airport, Yellow Cab taxi service is calling for the city to increase the company’s cab rates. But the Department of Airports, which is responsible for recommending rate changes to the Salt Lake City Council, says the request will not be granted.

Andrea Smardon

Entrepreneur Jim Sorenson has given the University of Utah $13 million to create a one-of-a-kind global impact investing center.  The Center will be part of the U’s David Eccles School of Business and will provide students with training and experience in social entrepreneurship. 

For Jim Sorenson, impact investing means doing good while doing well.  

This week a group of Utah physicians demanded a moratorium on mass transit fares for the remainder of the winter season, joining thousands of Utah residents who continually point to Utah Transit Authority as the key to the regions poor air quality. But UTA says the only way to realize increased ridership is to expand service, which can’t be done in the face of lost revenue. 

A disagreement between supporters of the Sundance Film Festival and a conservative think tank in Utah is raising questions about whether tax dollars should support the arts. The Sutherland Institute says some films screened at Sundance do not reflect Utah values.

Brian Grimmett

The Utah Transit Authority is holding public meetings this week on several proposed route changes and reductions. 

In connection with the start of service on the new Airport TRAX line in April UTA is proposing several route changes including eliminating routes in Salt Lake, Tooele, and Davis County. UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter says he thinks for the most part these changes will be well received.

While Congress works to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, there is another deadline looming.  Emergency unemployment insurance benefits are set to expire Saturday unless Congress acts.  The US Department of Labor estimates this will impact over 2 million Americans, including about 4100 Utahns. 

The Salt Lake Chamber is trying to help Utah businesses rein in their healthcare costs.  They released their online guide Thursday called an Employer’s Tool Box.

Rich McKeown is chair of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Health Reform task force.   He told KUER the Employer’s Tool Box helps businesses exercise some degree of control over healthcare costs. 

Andrea Smardon

A market for locally made arts and hand-made goods opened Friday at Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City.   The Downtown Holiday Market consists of about a dozen festive red huts decorated with lights, and a large tent which houses numerous artists and crafts people.   Emily Cooper is a vendor selling framed drawings of owls.  Cooper told KUER that at the Market, it’s not Black Friday, it’s Plaid Friday.

Andrea Smardon

City Creek Center is hosting its first ever Black Friday.  No one is quite sure how much money the Salt Lake City shopping center will bring in this holiday, but expectations are high.

Linda Wardell is General Manager of City Creek Center.  When asked about expectations for the holidays, she laughed. 

“It’s a great question,” said Wardell, “We still have a lot of first-time visitors to City Creek Center.  That does make it unique for us, and a bit daunting for us when we start thinking about our first time holiday season.”

Park City Mountain Resort

A Third District Court ruling has cleared the way for two Park City ski resorts to head to trial over a disputed land lease. Their ruling, released on Tuesday, says that Park City Mountain Resort did in fact fail to renew their lease of the land owned by Talisker Corporation before it expired on April 20, 2011. While the court also dismissed several of the other actions Park City Mountain Resort brought against Talisker, it left the door open for the case to be taken to trial. Alan Sullivan, the lawyer representing Park City Mountain Resort, says that’s just what his client plans to do.

AG, Utah Businesses Talk Federal Immigration Reform

Nov 9, 2012

On the second anniversary of the state’s creation of the Utah Compact an agreement between local businesses and organizations that envisions a compassionate and economically positive solution to immigration reform, retiring Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff joined Utah business leaders this morning at the Salt Lake Chamber for a roundtable discussion on how Utah’s congressional delegation can push real immigration reform  on the federal level using the same principles espoused in the Utah’s compact.

Major construction on the Utah Transit Authority TRAX Line to the Salt Lake International Airport is wrapping up this week with testing scheduled to begin as early as next week. UTA officials announced today the light rail system will be officially open on April 14, 2013. Utah Transit Authority spokesman, Gerry Carpenter, says with commuter rail to Provo opening in December, all metro areas will soon be connected.

Andrea Smardon

Utah businesses interested in expanding their global sales got some help Monday at an International Trade Summit at the Marriott in downtown Salt Lake City.  The conference  - hosted by the Governors Office of Economic Development - gave local business people a chance to meet the state’s Foreign Trade Representatives.  Ariel Briggs is Coordinator for the State Trade and Export Promotion Program.  

A new national survey reveals the most important issues to small business owners in this year’s election.  Utah is in line with national trends - rating the economy as the most important issue.  But the Beehive state parts ways with the rest of the country on which Presidential candidate is a better supporter of small businesses. 

George Washington University and Thumbtack.com surveyed more than 6000 small businesses across the country. 

TerraSol
Dan Bammes

The Utah legislature will be looking at changes to the state's building code to make homes and businesses much more energy efficient.  Garbett Homes’ Terra Sol development in South Salt Lake meets and even exceeds the new 2012 building code standard.  The recommendation from the state’s Uniform Building Code Commission requires making homes much more airtight.  Energy inspector Steven Thon showed reporters how it’s done with foam sealing the top of exterior walls.

Brian Grimmett

The City of South Salt Lake will be able to preserve the former Granite High School campus. A new public-private partnership will turn the building into a film and television production studio.

Utah is taking steps to help families break the cycle of poverty and dependence on public assistance. The Department of Workforce Services released a report Friday on poverty around the state. It’s the first in a series of annual reports mandated by the Utah Intergenerational Poverty Mitigation Act, passed this year in the legislature.

State Street Renovation Nears Completion

Sep 27, 2012

Officials from the Utah Department of Transportation and two Utah cities gathered to mark progress on a renovation of State Street in South Salt Lake County.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services announced Monday that some Utahn’s will again have access to additional unemployment insurance.

Utah liquor laws are effective at curbing underage drinking and overconsumption. That’s what researchers told policy makers Thursday at the 2012 Utah Legislative Alcohol Policy Summit in Provo. 

Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance is trying to calm public concern that The Gateway shopping center will close down now that City Creek Center is open.

Andrea Smardon

A federal rule change went into effect this month allowing immigrants who arrived in the US as children to stay in the country and work legally for two years.   Immigrant advocacy groups are holding workshops all over the state to help people through the application process.

Utah based company Xactware Solutions broke ground today on their new two-hundred and ten thousand square foot facility.

Jim Judd
Utah AFL-CIO

Jim Judd was a firefighter who worked his way up through his union to become the head of the state's largest labor organization, the Utah AFL-CIO.  He died Friday morning from the injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident in Missoula, Montana.

He was also vice-chairman of the Utah Democratic Party.  State Senator Karen Mayne says he was someone legislators from both parties could trust.

"He had good skills of figuring things out and networking, and negotiating and making everyone feel part of the movement and part of whatever committee he was on," Mayne told KUER.

Utah Exports Are On The Rise

Aug 14, 2012

Recently released data from the International Trade Administration shows that the state of Utah has significantly increased their amount of merchandise exports from last year.

Halfway through 2012, the amount of exports coming from Utah has increased by 14 percent. Six months into this year Utah has exported $9.7 billion worth of goods, compared to the $8.5 billion that was done in 2011. Lew Cramer is the CEO of the World Trade Center Utah. 

Xi3

The maker of a small, energy efficient computer is promising to hire 500 people in Utah over the next 5 years in exchange for $2 million worth of state tax rebate incentives.  Xi3 (X-I-3) Corporation has offices around the world, but is headquartered in Salt Lake City… and Utah’s government leaders want to keep it that way.  

David Politis is Chief Marketing officer for Xi3 corporation.  His office is on the 12th floor of the Wells Fargo building in downtown Salt Lake City, and the view is expansive.  Politis looks down at the birds. 

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