HB 390: Rural Economic Development Incentives
This bill passed the House with a vote of 70-1 and passed the Senate unanimously.
House Bill 390 creates a rural employment expansion grant for the purpose of creating new jobs in rural Utah. Sponsored by Representative Carl Albrecht, the bill tasks the Governor’s Office of Economic Development with overseeing this program.
In order to qualify for a grant, a business must provide certain documentation and application forms. Upon qualification, they will receive funding and (hopefully) use it for the intended purpose. However, there is no sure-fire way to guarantee the money is used as stated, which is a major problem with this bill.
The bill appropriates $2 million in tax revenue to be handed out to approved businesses, each receiving thousands of dollars at a time.
If a business is truly struggling in rural Utah, there are multiple private options available to obtain needed capital. The government should not act as a bank for businesses, using taxpayer money from across the state to invest in certain companies that may only benefit a small group of people.
This bill proposes an irresponsible way to spend taxpayer dollars and unnecessarily undermines a free market.