Utah governor, Legislature release updated budget estimates

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FILE – This March 8, 2018, file photo, shows the exterior of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

UTAH (ABC4) – The Utah Governor’s Office, Utah State Senate, and House of Representatives have released updated revenue numbers for state fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

These estimates, according to a Friday release, “show the longstanding strength of Utah’s economy, despite unprecedented financial challenges due to COVID-19.” Officials say the budget estimates ultimately indicate an increase in revenue.

The new consensus revenue estimates identify $112 million in additional ongoing money and $315 million in one-time money.

“This year, a historic $400 million increase will go toward public education, and a significant portion of ongoing funds will be dedicated to increased enrollment in Medicaid expansion. The Legislature will also give a significant tax cut to Utah taxpayers,” the release says.

“Key indicators continue to show that the Utah Way has again paid dividends, with our state leading the nation in the economic recovery,” Gov. Spencer Cox says. “While I remain optimistic that this trend will continue as more Utahns get vaccinated, we need to be extremely mindful of the sectors of the economy and the families which continue to struggle in our communities. With prudent use of taxpayer resources, I’m confident that we can respond to outstanding needs, navigate future challenges and leverage opportunities that may come as we rebound from this pandemic recession.”

According to state officials, legislators are committed to remaining fiscally responsible and replenishing rainy day funds for future emergencies.

“Utah’s responsible planning and saving prepared our state for a year like 2020,” says President J. Stuart Adams. “Not only has it enabled us to increase education funding during a pandemic, but we were also able to utilize rainy day funds to jump-start our economic recovery while reducing taxes. Utah’s blended approach to the pandemic has placed us on a path of success. However, we have not forgotten the sectors struggling due to COVID-19. As we look towards the future, the Legislature will maintain our state’s proven pattern of preparation and help all businesses. Utah will continue to lead the nation in economic outlook and remain the best state to raise a family.”

“Years of smart and responsible fiscal planning have allowed Utah to weather recent economic hardships better than many other states and positioned us for continued economic expansion,” says Speaker Brad Wilson. “Now we are able to maximize the return on that investment. The Legislature has significantly increased funding for public education, is working toward tax relief for those who will benefit from it most, and is making strategic investments to enhance our economy and quality of life. The updated revenue figures are promising and make me optimistic that Utah will continue on a path of economic growth and prosperity for years to come.” 

Highlights of the budget include:

  • General Fund revenue projections, which come primarily from sales tax
    • $32 million newly available ongoing revenue.
    • $80 million newly available one-time revenue.
  • Education Fund revenue projections, which come primarily from income tax and are dedicated to supporting public and higher education, children, and people with disabilities:
    • $80 million newly available ongoing funds.
    • $235 million newly available one-time revenue.

A Friday release says policymakers have about $1.3 billion one-time and $205 million ongoing to allocate during the 2021 General Session. Currently, appropriations requests total nearly $2 billion one-time and $400 million ongoing.

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