During the 2021 legislative session, the Center for Rural Development (CRD), housed within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, received several changes to its programs that will positively impact many rural Utah residents’ livelihoods.
The mission of the CRD is to foster a healthy and diverse rural ecosystem by connecting rural businesses and communities with state and federal resources and programs.
“As a result of Gov. Cox’s increased focus on rural Utah, the Legislature passed several bills that benefit rural Utah residents,” said Ryan Starks, managing director of Business Services at GOED. “These additions, to our already robust list of programs and services, are an affirmation that rural Utah is instrumental to the economy of our entire state.”
One of the bills passed creates a Broadband Center that will strengthen Utah’s broadband infrastructure (H.B. 348). Other related legislative initiatives include establishing a Regulatory Relief office that provides a ‘sandbox’ where regulations can be adapted to innovation (H.B. 217) and the Utah Immigration Assistance Center’s formation to support Utah businesses seeking to bring workers from other countries (H.B. 404). All of these new initiatives will be managed by GOED.
The Legislature also created a post-performance tax credit called Rural Economic Development Tax Increment Financing, or REDTIF, to spur rural economic development by amending eligibility and award criteria for new commercial projects (H.B. 356). Additionally, the Legislature passed a bill establishing the Utah Main Street program that provides resources for revitalizing downtowns and commercial districts, especially in the state’s rural areas (S.B. 194).
These initiatives augment GOED’s Center for Rural Development’s six existing programs and incentives, including Enterprise Zone Tax Credits, Rural County Grant program, Rural Coworking and Innovation Center Grant program, Rural Economic Development Incentive, Targeted Business Tax Credits, and the Utah Rural Jobs program.
Complete descriptions of the Center for Rural Development programs and initiatives are found here.