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Incentives, quality of life help Utah business survive recession

Incentives, quality of life help Utah business survive recession


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Business growth and development may be struggling in other states during the recession, but not in Utah.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) says it has been able to successfully recruit new businesses and grow existing ones, thanks to incentive tax credits and the quality of life Utah offers.

"Although we're almost never the highest bidder when it comes to incentives, we almost never lose a company," says Derek Miller, GOED managing director of corporate recruitment and incentives.

Miller says efforts are pacing well ahead of last year. The state has incented 2,300 jobs in the first quarter of this fiscal year--more than half the number incented all of last year. That has translated into $2.5 billion in new state wages.

GOED executive director Spencer Eccles says that is with no money up front.

"The incentives that we give are post-performance, which is a unique model, maybe to the rest of the nation," Eccles says. "What that means is that companies have to perform and hit certain milestones before they receive whatever incentive it is that we're promising."

Miller says in addition to a tax credit being given "post-performance," the tax credit is always a percentage of tax dollars paid by the company.

"We don't incent water to run downhill," Miller says.

Eccles says he sees great potential for future business growth overseas, and non-stop international flights to Paris and Tokyo have helped to show that.

"We are a global state," Eccles said. "In the next 10 years I think we're going to see explosive growth on the international front."

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com

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