Utah's 4-Day Work Week Due to Gas Prices

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 2, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALEXIS GLICK, GUEST HOST: Well, record gas prices forcing that state to put its employees — that state being Utah — on a mandatory four-day workweek. Workers will save a bundle on gas. The state will save on electricity. Utah is the first state to try it.

My next guest is the guy who is making it happen. Joining us now is the governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman.

Good morning, Governor — or good afternoon.

GOV. JON HUNTSMAN JR. (R), UTAH: Hi, Alexis. Thank you for that very encouraging announcement before I got on.

Video: Watch Alexis Glick's interview with Jon Huntsman


GLICK: Yes, I know. I have sufficiently made you depressed.

HUNTSMAN: Oh, totally.

GLICK: And you're going to tell me why it is that you're doing the four-day workweek, because I'm going to make a petition to move to Utah.


HUNTSMAN: You are always welcome, of course.

We have certain short-term realities and certain long-term realities as a state government — government. And, as a manager, you have to look at these things pragmatically. You want to be proactive, as opposed to reactive, as government typically is.

And, listen, $4 dollar gas prices are a killer for people these days. Not only that, but we have a very ambitious energy efficiency goal as a state, which is to say 20 percent reduction by 2015. And, then, beyond that, how do you expand customer service in ways that allows the taxpayer to fully understand that we're trying to meet their needs?

And, finally, what can you do for good public employees who are working hard and doing everything they can, paying high gas prices, and, in some cases, commuting from long distances? So, all of these areas were very elegantly covered by this four-day, 10-hour-per-day workweek.

And we crunched the numbers. We did the analysis. We're going to use the month of July to anticipate any questions that people have about transportation or child care issues. And, then, by August 1, we are going to be ready to launch. And we're going to do so uniformly and longitudinally as a state government.

GLICK: You know, it is a hot topic. We have heard about other governments who have done it. Talk to me about the implications.

You know, if you are living in the state, and you want to get access to those government offices, what happens? I mean, are we going to be at a point where employees are accepting e-mails and taking phone calls from home?

HUNTSMAN: Well, we tend to think of state government services circa the 1960s or the 1970s.

We forget that, in today's world, at least in our state, we have 800 services that are available online. And, so, if people — as they have anticipated questions, and as I have been asked about this on radio or in town hall meetings, people will say, what about a fishing license? What about a driver's license, so on and so forth?

And my response is always, do you realize that you can actually do this today, from start to finish, on the Internet...

GLICK: Right.

HUNTSMAN: ... through some of our services that we provide?

So, this will be a huge learning experience for a lot of people in our state to see something that probably they didn't understand fully before. That is, they can access a lot of services right from their home. But...

GLICK: Internet usage on the rise because of this, I am sure.

HUNTSMAN: That's right. That's right.

GLICK: Governor, let me ask you this question. As you know, the market hitting bear market territory, at least as far as the Dow is concerned.

As I just mentioned moments ago, oil hitting a new high. Where do you stand on the rhetoric coming out today from the president and many Republicans, who say it is time to start drilling?

HUNTSMAN: Well, this is time to keep all of our options on the table.

We have shale oil opportunities right here in this part of the country. And, for years, it has never made sense economically. And this is the first time in recent history — I'm saying since the '60s or '70s, where we actually should be allowed access, because the economics finally make sense for shale.

Not only that, but we have got natural gas. We have wind. We have solar. We have biomass. I'm not concerned about the fixes out there. The great thinking has been done. We have technologies available to us. And we have the raw materials needed to run this economy.

What is lacking fundamentally is the political will. And that is to pull all of the stakeholders together at a roundtable...

GLICK: Right.

HUNTSMAN: ... and to have a meaningful conversation about the big- vision thing. We do not have a big-vision thing as it relates to energy policy.

And that's why, as I met with my fellow Western governors...

GLICK: Right.

HUNTSMAN: ... just a couple short days ago, we have decided that we're going to launch out and come up with a Western energy policy that will represent both Republican and Democratic thinking, and present that to the next administration.

GLICK: Governor, let me ask you this. You are basically agreeing with McCain's philosophy that, leave it up to the states. Do I take it that perhaps you might be a good vice presidential candidate? And, if offered the job, would you take it?

HUNTSMAN: No, you have misinterpreted that one completely.

I — I love being governor. I'm lucky to have this job. I'm running for one more term in November. And we have got some great things happening in what happens to be the greatest state in America, right here in Utah.

GLICK: All right, well, Governor, it was a pleasure having you.

HUNTSMAN: Thanks a lot.

GLICK: And I'm coming to visit you to see how that four-day workweek works out...

HUNTSMAN: Well, we will keep a job open for you.

GLICK: ... because I think I am going to suggest that here at FOX.


HUNTSMAN: We will keep a job open for you, you and Neil both.

GLICK: OK. That's a date. Thanks so much.

HUNTSMAN: All right.


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