Blog Roll (Default)

Revenues Get a Jump on General Session

The Utah State Tax Commission published its revenue summary for the first half of FY 2023 on the first day of Legislative General Session. As shown in the accompanying Revenue Snapshot from the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB), General and Income Tax Fund collections remain […]

Getting Schooled Pt. 2: the Minimum School Program and Property Taxes

Multiple factors contribute to the amount of property tax a homeowner pays, including the Minimum Basic Tax Rate. The Minimum Basic Tax Rate is the amount of property tax charged statewide to pay for the Minimum School Program (refresh your public education budget knowledge here). While the Basic Rate (and recent increases) factors into property […]

Too Blessed to be Stressed: Utah Fares Well in 2023 Budget Stress Test

In 2016, the Utah Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB) conducted their first stress testing exercise, following the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 during the Great Recession that required banks to conduct stress tests. The utility of this exercise resulted in the passage […]

New Performance Measurement and Efficiency Improvement Initiative Wraps Up Its First Year

In the 2021 General Session, the Legislature passed H.B. 326, “Performance Reporting and Efficiency Requirements,” which codified and expanded performance measurement and created an efficiency improvement process for operations at state agencies. The legislation was novel in thatit requires extensive collaboration across the legislative and executive branches of government, including between the Office of the […]

Revenues Still Merry, and Fiscal Reserves Appear Bright

On December 15th, 2022 the Tax Commission released their revenue summary through the first five months of the fiscal year. Along with that summary, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget released their monthly Revenue Snapshot, detailing collections in comparison to the consensus forecast. Through November, revenues to all state funds […]

LFA Releases Governor’s Budget Summary

Last week, Governor Spencer Cox released his budget recommendations for FY 2023 – FY 2024, announcing Tax and Education items on December 9th with the full budget following on December 10th. While Utah’s constitution makes budgeting a plenary power of the Legislature, past legislators delegated power to the Governor to recommend budget changes through the […]

The Numbers Are In: LFA Releases the 2022 Medicaid Consensus Forecast

Background Medicaid is a federal and state program that pays for medical services for low-income, disabled, and elderly individuals. In order to qualify, individuals must meet specific eligibility requirements. Officially, Medicaid is an “optional” program, meaning it’s one that a state can elect to offer. However, if a state chooses to offer Medicaid, then it […]

Getting Schooled on Education Funding

In the fall of 2022, the Common Data Committee for Public Education Appropriations gathered to determine enrollment estimates for FY 2024 (2023-2024 School Year) and weighted pupil units (WPUs). The goal of the informal committee is to agree to a consensus projection of future year growth and spending that balances the various models used by […]

The Build Up: Learn about Capital Development Requests

Prioritization of new building requests for both state agencies and higher education institutions starts long before a General Session begins. Lists of ranked building project requests are created by both the Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM) and the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) for consideration by the Governor and the Legislature during […]

Winter is Coming… Yet Revenue Remains Hot

On Thursday, November 17th, the Tax Commission released their Revenue Summary report through the first four months of the fiscal year (FY), in conjunction with the Monthly Revenue Snapshot produced by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. From July to October of FY 2023, collections to the General Fund are […]

Targeted Results: An Update on Compensation Increases for Corrections and Public Safety Departments

During the 2022 General Session, the Legislature appropriated targeted salary increases for Corrections Officers ($39.5 million ongoing) and the Department of Public Safety’s Sworn Officers ($20.0 million ongoing and $10.0 million one-time) to address recruitment and retention issues within these agencies. These challenges resemble a recent pattern of difficulty in attracting and keeping law enforcement […]

Drastic Times Call for Drastic Meters

In Utah, water providers use the term “secondary water” to refer to untreated, unfiltered water that is suitable to be used for residential landscaping and gardening. Historically, the state has not metered secondary connections, meaning that the amount of water applied to individual lawns and gardens was unknown and usage was only available on a […]

Haunting Inflation Brings Strong First Quarter Collections

In the first three periods of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, collections have averaged 10.4% year-over-year (YoY) growth to state funds, exceeding consensus forecasts released in May. Inflation appears to have aided the General Fund in its 16.4 percent growth over the same period last year, while it may be negatively impacting the Transportation Fund. Collections […]

Putting the Fun in Funding: Recent Investments in Parks and Recreation

During the 2021 General Session, the Legislature passed H.B. 346, “Natural Resources Entities Amendments.” Among other things, the legislation split the Division of Parks and Recreation into two separate line items: the Division of State Parks and the Division of Recreation.   Between the 2021 and 2022 General Sessions, the Legislature invested over $185 million […]

Coming Together: An Update on Bringing Services to the Community of Westwater

During the 2021 General Session, the legislature appropriated $500,000 one-time from the General Fund to the Department of Community and Cultural Engagement for cost-share to assist with bringing services to the community of Westwater, including electricity, drinking water, and sewer from the next-door municipality of Blanding. Westwater is a small community comprised of approximately 29 […]

Revitalized Cultural and Event Grant Programs Bestow FY 2023 Awards

During the 2022 General Session, the Legislature established a series of grant programs targeting arts, heritage, culture, events, and economic development. To accomplish their goals, policy makers revamped pass-through funding at the Department of Cultural and Community Engagement (CCE) and the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (GOEO). For grants made by both departments, policymakers established […]

Utah State Capitol with Fall Leaves

LFA Releases the 2022 Funding Item Follow Up Report

In each legislative session, the Legislature appropriates new funding for specific purposes to better serve residents of Utah.  In 2021, the Legislature codified the practice of following up on these “funding items” and directed the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA), the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB), and state agencies to collaborate […]

Utah State Capitol, Fall Leaves

If You Build It, They Will Come: Improved Security, Rehabilitation, and Economic Benefits of Prison Relocation

In July of 2022, Utah’s new state correctional facility opened in Salt Lake City. At a total price tag of just over $1 billion, the campus has 3,600 beds and a current population of 2,464. The facility conforms with the highest standards of modern prison reform, which emphasizes rehabilitation. The new prison has extensive space […]

Inflation Reduction, What’s Your Function?

On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The bill invests $400 billion in energy security, climate change, drought resiliency, and extending certain Affordable Care Act provisions. The IRA is expected to generate over $700 billion in federal tax revenue from both corporate tax previsions and prescription drug pricing […]

Picture of Utah Mormon Battalion Monument

Informed Investments – A Renewed Emphasis on Optimization and Results

You’ve heard this one before. An agency or advocate comes to the Legislature for money: Advocate – “We need money.” Legislature – “How much do you need?” Advocate – “How much do you have?” Earlier this spring, the Legislature and Governor officially embarked on an effort to change this conversation. “Performance Reporting and Efficiency Requirements” […]

Joining Forces: the New Department of Health and Human Services

Earlier this month, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Department of Human Services (DHS) officially became the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. During the 2021 General Session, the Legislature passed H.B. 365, State Agency Realignment, which directed the consolidation of the state’s two primary social service agencies. The Legislature proposed this merger […]

Revenues Strong but Tempering as Fiscal Year 2022 Comes to a Close

On Thursday, July 14th the Tax Commission released their preliminary figures for year-end, Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The Revenue Summary (TC-23) report indicates that total tax revenues were up 14.7% over FY 2021. According to the Revenue Snapshot, legislative and executive branch economists indicate that these figures surpass expectations, while also highlighting that currently reported […]

What’s Debt Got to Do With It? A Look at General Obligation Bonds

Last week, Legislative leaders alongside the Governor and others participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the new state prison. The new prison provides a notable example of the approach the state uses when financing a multi-year, multimillion-dollar project. For projects that are not expected to earn revenue sufficient to pay for the project, general […]

Income Tax Finally Comparable with Delayed Filings

On Wednesday, June 15th the Tax Commission released the TC-23 Revenue Summary Report for 11 months of FY 2022. This report, coupled with the Revenue Snapshot produced by the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget indicated strong growth in collections to the General and Education Funds, and stable […]

Ensuring the Public Trust: a Summary of the Accountable Budget Process

Each year, more than 80 percent of Utah’s General and Education Fund (GF/EF) budget rolls-forward into the next budget year’s base. By legislative rule, in the 2023 General Session, as much as $9.3 billion of the $11.6 billion GF/EF total will carry forward from FY 2023 into FY 2024. While appropriators can change base budgets […]

How Will the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Impact Utah?

In November of last year, Congress passed, and the President signed, the bi-partisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Unlike other pandemic stimulus efforts (such as the CARES Act and ARPA), this bill does not include large discretionary pots of money for state and local governments. Instead, the IIJA returns to a more traditional mix […]

May Executive Appropriations Committee Recap

During the May meeting of the Executive Appropriations Committee, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst released several annual products and reports; including the Budget of the State of Utah (Appropriations Report), Utah’s Budget Presentation, final Revenue Estimates and more, described in detail below. Budget of the State of UtahThe Budget of the State of […]

2021 Filing Delay Interferes with Revenue Comparisons

On Monday, May 16th, 2022, the Tax Commission released its monthly TC-23 Revenue Summary Report jointly with the monthly Revenue Snapshot produced by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. Through April, collections to the General and Education funds exceeded forecasts by 25.1%, outpacing FY 2021 by 25.7%.  A significant driver […]

How We Used Flexible Federal ARPA Dollars

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal government provided states with three large stimulus packages partially aimed at mitigating impacts on the economy. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and companion Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed in March of 2020 (roughly $13.6 billion for Utah), followed by the Consolidated Appropriations […]

A Changing Landscape: the Utah Legislature Addresses Drought and Water Conservation

In response to the abnormally dry conditions statewide1, and armed with Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as well as surplus revenues partially attributable to previous federal intervention, the Utah Legislature made generational investments in water conservation, rights, and planning efforts during the 2021 First Special Session and 2022 General Session. 2021 […]

Retaining Talent in A Tight Labor Market

Utah’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of calendar year 2022 was 2 percent – the lowest in the nation. Recognizing this fact, policymakers prioritized employee retention and recruitment during the 2022 General Session. In sum, legislators appropriated more than $210 million from the General and Education Funds (GF/EF) for salary changes – on top […]

Lanes, Trains and Automobiles: A Closer Look at General Fund Investments in Transportation

In the last two budget cycles, Utah policymakers have invested more than $2.1 billion from the General Fund in transit, rail, road and trail projects. This is in addition to the more than $800 million in sales taxes and $725 million in gas taxes and registration fees going directly to transportation annually. While they initially […]