KAYSVILLE -- The Northern Utah Chamber Coalition, which speaks with the power of more than 4,000 businesses, has been formed for a second consecutive year.
The coalition, composed of the Brigham City Area, Cache, Davis, and Ogden/Weber chambers of commerce, is designed to promote legislative priorities that have an impact on the entire region, Davis Chamber President and CEO Jim Smith said.
This is the first year the Cache Chamber of Commerce has been a member of the group.
"The NUCC combines efforts to support public policy and government funding issues in Northern Utah that positively affect the business community and the quality of life in our region," Smith said in a prepared statement.
Each chamber has its own respective legislative policies and processes, but the group has agreed that issues with regional significance include the expansion and reconstruction of Interstate 15 from 31st Street in Ogden to Beck Street in Salt Lake City; funding the Hill Air Force Base 2012 Air Show in the amount of $250,000; and addressing educational needs by increasing the weighted per pupil unit.
The coalition is also requesting that tourism marketing funding be maintained; restaurant tax funding stay with county entities; and economic development research, commercialization and business development -- along with military installation developments such as Falcon Hill bordering Hill's west side in north Davis and south Weber counties -- be supported.
The coalition also supports capital facility projects, such as the Utah State University Brigham City campus and Ogden Juvenile Courts.
"Combining our influence on specific issues has been very well received by Northern Utah legislators," Smith said.
One Layton legislator finds the coalition valuable because issues are generally larger than just one county.
"This just makes so much sense," Rep. Stephen G. Handy, R-Layton, said. "If Northern Utah can stand together, we have more of an opportunity to look out for those critical business interests in Northern Utah."
Area legislators meet with coalition members at 7 a.m. each Monday in Room 250 of the state Capitol to discuss bills the coalition is tracking.
Handy, owner of a small business, said it is better for lawmakers to hear from the business people in their community rather than a lobbyist.
"There is no filter when you're talking to the folks from the business community. They have the attention of all the legislators," Handy said of the coalition.
"There are many issues that are regional in nature, that have impact that reaches beyond the boundaries of any one county," Smith said. "This coalition is a way for us to work together on issues that impact the common good of the Top of Utah."
By combining forces, the Top of Utah chambers represent more than 4,000 business members and are represented by some of the state's most influential legislators, Smith said.