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Utah recognized for best debt management

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah state government can add "best in the nation for debt management" to the list of accolades it has received in recent years in recognition of its penchant for conservative fiscal policy.

A Forbes magazine review of all 50 states ranked Utah No. 1 in its prudent handling of debt, when looking at factors like changes in tax revenue, unfunded pension liabilities, debt as a percentage of GDP, growth expectations for employment and the state economy and debt per capita.

Gov. Gary Herbert said the responsibility for the honor was one shared by lawmakers and department directors alike.

"From the Legislature's continued fiscally conservative nature to our state agencies' prudent management of their budgets, our mutual efforts continue to benefit all citizens of the state of Utah," Herbert said.

During a monthly Governor's Office of Economic Development board meeting Thursday, Derek Miller, GOED managing director for business incentives and growth, said Utah has a very low per capita debt ratio.

He said the debt is "$447 for each of us in this room. The national debt is 100 times that, $40,000. The good news is you're living in Utah. The bad news is you live in the United States, too."

Utah has been recognized in the past several years as the "best managed state," "happiest" state in the nation and the "best place for business."

— Arthur Raymond, Laura Hancock