State Planning Board

Entity: 787
Entity Type: State Government


On March 14, 1935, the Utah State Legislature passed an act creating the Utah State Planning Board. The board's mission was to develop, formulate, and propose plans for the material, economic, and social development of the state for the welfare of its citizens. It was to cooperate in all such work with all or any agencies of the federal government and any county, state, school, or other agency interested in this mission. The board was primarily created to formulate and recommend to the governor, prior to the regular sessions of the legislature, legislation that would put into effect a definite plan or program for such development in Utah. The board was abolished in 1941 when its duties were passed to the office of Publicity and Industrial Development.

Biography/History Notes

The Board had a broad range of areas that encompassed the material, economic, and social development of Utah. Its subcommittees were as follows: Land Utilization, Agriculture, Livestock; Water Resources and Utilization; Public Works, City Planning, and Public Institutions; Survey of Mineral Resources; Utilization of Mineral Resources; Transportation and Highways; Legislative Aspects; Economic Phases, Commerce, and Marketing; Recreational Phases; Social Planning, Population, Housing, Public Health; Financial Aspects; Labor and Industrial Relations; Community Planning and Type Studies; Education and Culture; Coordination and Publicity; and Manufacturing and Industry. A few years after its creation, they added defense to their list of committees. These committees were set up to advise the governor. The board had no executive authority, its duties were entirely advisory.

Briefly, the scope of research and statistical work of the Planning Board includes inventories of Utah's resources which described their nature, extent, and location; statistical tabulations on industry, business, trade, production, commodity export and import shipments, employment and payrolls, income, taxation and public finance, government, education, health, relief, and public works. They also acted as a clearing house and gathered other agency's reports and statistics. One of their biggest functions was mapping. They created or collected over 300 maps of Utah.

Under the Public Works Administration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a National Planning Board, which later became the National Resources Board, then Committee. The National Board requested each state to set up a statewide planning board to assist in its work. The federal government funded planning efforts in Utah through F.E.R.A and it required inventories and statistics in order to allocate the appropriate money. Governor Blood set up an informal planning board in 1934 to fill this need but was later replaced by the legal board in1935. The State Planning Board worked in close cooperation with the National Resources Committee, which was the federal planning agency. The National Resources Committee provided leadership and technical skills and aided in the cooperation between adjoining states.

The board consisted of the governor and six resident citizens of the state who were appointed by the governor. They served a term for two years without pay. The governor acted as chairman of the board and the board elected from its members an executive vice-chairman and a secretary. Each board member headed a sub-committee which focused on a specific planning area.

The board had the power to employ and remove a director. This director was especially qualified by training and experience to direct and supervise the work of the board, and had the authority to employ technical, clerical, and other assistants.