For Immediate Release
Dec. 14, 2016
Marketing & Communications Director
World Trade Center Utah
Keyword at Thought Leader Symposium Discussing Trump Administration: Uncertainty
200 business leaders attended event hosted by WTC Utah and Zions Bank
Salt Lake City – The future of tax policy, international business, energy, finance and healthcare under a Trump administration were discussed at today’s Thought Leader Symposium hosted by World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) and Zions Bank. They key takeaway was the future is uncertain, but Utah is resilient.
At the event, a panel discussion was led by Pat Jones, CEO of the Women’s leadership institute. She asked probing questions about protectionist policies, proposed tax cuts, the future of the affordable care act and anticipated changes to air quality policy and energy development opportunities.
Derek B. Miller, president and CEO of WTC Utah, had the following to say about protectionist policies of the incoming president:
“I give Utah an A grade in international business. An estimated 22 percent of jobs in the state are supported by international business and Utah is ranked ninth in the nation for export growth. Because of this success, I am concerned protectionist policies present a great risk to the state’s economy. I don’t want to see a situation where ‘put America first’ puts Utah last. When it comes to protectionism, my message is no thanks; Utah doesn’t need protection. We know how to compete and win in a global economy.”
Along with Miller, panelists included Robert Spendlove, economic and public policy officer of Zions Bank, Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Dr. Laura Nelson, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development, and Rich McKeown, CEO of Leavitt Partners.
All of the panelists gave Utah an A or B grade in the topics they were asked to cover, but the outlook moving forward was not so definitive. This uncertainty was attributed to the fact that the incoming president has a history of being unpredictable. One of the topics discussed was President-elect Trump’s proposed tax cuts.
“The president elect has proposed a tax overhaul that includes significant tax cuts,” said Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. “But, let’s be honest, the likelihood is that these tax reductions will be deficit financed. The federal government will borrow money to give us back money, while at the same time doing massive infrastructure spending of about a trillion dollars.”
She went on to explain that the expansionary fiscal policy will boost the economy in the short term, but has the potential to overheat the economy over time. Inflation, higher rates of interest and increased national debt are likely and will need to be managed carefully to avoid a recession.
In regard to the financial sector, Robert Spendlove was optimistic. He talked about the opportunity under the new administration to remove over-burdensome regulations hurting not just lending institutions, but also consumers.
“While the actions of Congress following the 2008 recession may have been well-intentioned, they were an overreaction that has constrained economic growth and access to capital,” said Spendlove. “The result of overregulation from Washington has been that individuals and small businesses have struggled to get the help they need from banks and financial institutions. If we can reform our country’s financial system and restore access to capital, it will provide a much needed boost to the economy.”
The Thought Leader Symposium, titled Utah’s Economy Under a Trump Administration, was attended by 200 business and community leaders. It was the fourth Thought Leader Symposium of 2016. The event was produced in partnership with the Salt Lake Chamber, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, EDCUtah and Governor’s Office of Energy Development.
A recording of the event can be viewed on the WTC Utah Facebook page.
About World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah)
The mission of World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) is to help Utah companies think, act and succeed globally. WTC Utah accomplishes this mission through three key objectives. First is to motivate and educate Utah businesses to expand their global presence through training seminars, regional forums and newsletters focused on international business development, trade issues and export opportunities. Second is to build capacity of Utah businesses for international trade through B2B consultations to identify expansion goals, assess current capabilities, determine overseas opportunities and connect companies with market experts and potential partners. Third is to expand global network of Utah businesses through trade missions and networking with foreign trade officials.