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Richard Piatt ReportingThe Huntsman administration today offered a preview of what we can expect over the next four years. It is easy for candidates to talk about what they want to do when they're running for office, now is the time the people of Utah are looking for the Huntsman administration to make good on their 'New Day in Utah' slogan.
Building on Utah's economy, with more good paying jobs. Dealing with a public education system that's running out of money at the same time enrollment climbs. Investing in public transportation as a crisis lurks in the future. These are the top three issues Jon Huntsman Junior said he would take on when he was elected. And already his administration is feeling pressure, people looking to him and his Lieutenant Governor for leadership.
Gary Herbert, Lieutenent Governor-Elect: “We feel the pressure. The transition is a significantly difficult time.”
Interest is high among government insiders and every day citizens alike. Over lunch downtown, Gary Herbert stepped forward with the first public look at the new administration's priorities.
In the top five are Economic Development, Transportation, Education, Rural Issues and Government Efficiency. Goals in each category include promoting tourism and the state's resources and workforce.
In Transportation his plan includes investing between 6-and-8 billion dollars, and a long term plan to relieve gridlock. He’s encouraging cooperation to get things done.
In education they recommend giving parental choice through Tuition Tax Credits a try, while not forgetting funding challenges that remain with public education.
The Administration proposes a new office for Rural affairs, to bring in communities outside the Wasatch front. Solving wilderness issues is also a goal.
And Huntsman wants to investigate efficiency in state Government, looking for better ways to do things, in conjunction, of course, with the Legislature.
Gary Herbert, Lieutenent Governor-Elect: "I expect there is no room for failure. I don't see why we can't get some significant things done."
The goals roughly follow findings from the non-profit Utah Foundation, which surveyed Utahns about what's important to them.
Steve Kroes, Utah Foundation "Their slogan was ‘A New Day for Utah’, wasn't it? And people are going to hold them to that. They want to see some different things."
At the same time, Herbert says the administration is NOT considering any kind of tax hikes right now. They are paying close attention to the new state budget, expected to be unveiled by Governor Walker tomorrow.