SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In his second State of the State address, Governor Cox called on Utahns to rally around the state’s children and move forward together in some of the most difficult challenges facing Utah.

Pointing to Utah’s hospitalizations and declining cases in Summit County, the governor expressed optimism that the state is at the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

Gov. Cox expressed gratitude to members of the legislature for working with the administration on bills to ensure a high quality of life and find solutions to complex issues including water security, affordable housing, air quality and infrastructure improvements while also providing tax relief.

“Because of critical decisions we made together during the pandemic, and the incredible resilience of Utahns, our state is in its strongest fiscal condition ever with the largest rainy day fund, lowest unemployment and largest budget surplus in our state’s history,” Gov. Cox said. “Last year we delivered nearly $100M in tax cuts for Utah seniors, military veterans and families. Today, I am proposing an additional $160M grocery tax credit for Utah families who are suffering the devastating impacts of inflation. With this year’s surplus, I think we can all agree that it’s time we gave some of that hard-earned money back to Utahns.”

Gov. Cox also unveiled a new state initiative to support Utah’s children and parents and proposed hiring a senior advisor to lead these efforts.

“We currently have programs focused on providing necessities for families that are poor or in need, but we must do more to make sure families of all shapes and sizes and makeups are thriving, including parental leave, access to high-quality child care and mentoring opportunities for parents,” Gov. Cox said. “The purpose of this office is not to inject more government into families–it is the exact opposite: it is to make sure that government policies are not harming families and that we are coordinating government services to help parents and children succeed.”

The governor concluded by calling on Utahns to set aside divisions and come together for the common good.