LAYTON -- The importance of the three Es (economy, education and finding greener energy) remains the rallying cry for Gov. Gary R. Herbert, who says he is optimistic about the future of Utah.
"I see so many good things happening," Herbert told Davis Chamber of Commerce members at a Thursday luncheon at the Davis Conference Center.
"This community is making it happen," Herbert said, reiterating the importance of the state having a strong economy to meet the challenges it faces.
Herbert said a healthy state economy is the tide that raises all boats.
"I understand that if we create a robust economy, everything else falls into place," he said.
That's why Herbert is optimistic about the economic changes taking place in the state, as some businesses continue to expand despite the downturn in the national economy.
Those businesses specifically mentioned by Herbert were ICON Health and Fitness in Logan, manufacturers of exercise equipment; Orbit Irrigation Products Inc. in Bountiful; and Fresenius Medical Care in Ogden, manufacturers of kidney dialysis and other medical equipment.
The best way elected leaders can assist local entrepreneurs, Herbert said, is to keep government off their backs and out of their wallets.
One way the state has done that is by cutting in 2008 the personal income tax from 7 to 5 percent, he said.
Utah is becoming the gold standard when it comes to creating a business-friendly environment and is becoming the envy of other states across the country.
He said it is something he is made aware of when meeting with other state governors.
Davis Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jim Smith reported the chamber has grown by 67 members this year, making a total of 844 companies listed in the chamber's membership directory.
Other issues Herbert lightly touched on Thursday included education and energy.
In order to sustain longtime economic development, Herbert said, the state needs to be able to educate its young people to make them competitive in the job market, which serves the state's future labor force.
Herbert said he is becoming weary of the fight over what level is proper for education funding, and those on both sides of the debate need to work together to address a challenge unique to Utah as a result of having a young, growing population.
"The marketplace is also demanding greener, cleaner energy," Herbert said.
That has to be more, he said, than just installing solar panels on some houses.
The state needs to couple its continued development with conservation measures, he said.
Some of the environmentally friendly energy measures mentioned by Herbert were geothermal, wind, solar and hydro power.