SALT LAKE CITY (Jan. 20, 2022) – In his second State of the State address, Gov. Spencer Cox called on Utahns to rally around the state’s children and move forward together on the most pressing challenges facing the state.
“… I pledge my hands and my heart in this work,” Gov. Cox said. “It is our privilege to represent the great citizens of this state for but a moment in time. Let’s do the big things. Let’s do the things that matter.”
Pointing to Utah’s hospitalizations and declining cases in Summit County, the governor expressed optimism that the state is in the beginning of the end of the pandemic. He offered deep thanks to Utah’s medical and public health experts for their hard work over the past two years and urged Utahns to support the state’s children during these difficult times.
“… May we all find common ground tonight on this one issue. Our children need us to be strong. They need us to point to a hopeful future. And they need to be in school, in person, face-to-face with their friends and teachers.”
He underscored his commitment to Utah’s students by supporting early reading programs, eliminating school course fees for parents, and endorsing historic funding for education.
“To those teachers with us tonight, I know that you are on mile 42 of what was promised to be a 26.2 mile COVID marathon,” the governor said. “And while we can never thank you enough, I do believe that we can pay you better … That’s why I am proposing more than $970 million in education funding with a priority focus on at-risk and disadvantaged students. A child’s zip code should never determine their future or their opportunities.”
Gov. Cox expressed gratitude to members of the Legislature for working with the administration on bills to ensure a high quality of life and find solutions to complex issues including water security, affordable housing, air quality and infrastructure improvements while also providing tax relief.
“Because of critical decisions we made together during the pandemic, and the incredible resilience of Utahns, our state is in its strongest fiscal condition ever with the largest rainy day fund, lowest unemployment and largest budget surplus in our state’s history,” Gov. Cox said. “Last year we delivered nearly $100M in tax cuts for Utah seniors, military veterans and families. Today, I am proposing an additional $160M grocery tax credit for Utah families who are suffering the devastating impacts of inflation. With this year’s surplus, I think we can all agree that it’s time we gave some of that hard-earned money back to Utahns.”
He also unveiled a new state initiative to support Utah’s children and parents, and proposed hiring a senior advisor to lead these efforts.
“We currently have programs focused on providing necessities for families that are poor or in need, but we must do more to make sure families of all shapes and sizes and makeups are thriving, including parental leave, access to high-quality child care and mentoring opportunities for parents,” Gov. Cox said. “The purpose of this office is not to inject more government into families–it is the exact opposite: it is to make sure that government policies are not harming families and that we are coordinating government services to help parents and children succeed.”
The governor concluded by calling on Utahns to set aside divisions and come together for the common good.
“As I have traveled the state, I’ve heard some argue that the Constitution will someday, if not now, hang by a thread and need rescuing,” Gov. Cox said. “I worry that what a few of them fail to see is that, they — just like those for whom they have so much disdain and contempt — are daily hacking away at those cords, recklessly believing that they will know exactly when to stop slicing and start saving. Tonight I’m asking every one of us to do our part to start tying those “mystic c[h]ords of memory” back together again.”
Find the full text of the State of the State address here and video of tonight’s remarks here.