Last week KSL reported that almost 10% of Utah restaurants have closed for good due to the pandemic and lockdowns. While the food and beverage industry has been particularly hard hit, it is certainly not the only segment of the Utah economy struggling. To me, one of the most important jobs of the legislature elected in 2020 will be to continue to support small businesses as they fight their way back to the black side of the books. The best way to do this is to get government out of the way!
Now that government-mandated lockdowns have ended in Utah, we need to focus on giving small businesses the freedom to operate as they see fit. Capacity limits are devastating to businesses already operating at the margins, and excessive COVID-related regulations mandating every detail of how a business operates are unnecessary. Let businesses and their customers decide what measures they need to feel comfortable! Reducing regulations, in general, allows the market to regulate itself instead of the government choosing winners and losers. Having owned several small businesses in Utah, I have firsthand knowledge on the importance of this issue.
We also need to continually evaluate the tax burden on Utah families and look to reduce this burden rather than adding to it. State tax revenue will naturally increase as businesses and families go back to thriving -- and lower taxes will encourage that recovery much more quickly than higher ones.
As your legislator, you can count on me to support small businesses by reducing excessive regulations, COVID-related and otherwise, and fighting to keep your taxes as low as possible so that you can keep more of your hard-earned money!
Representative Kera Birkeland