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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 […]

Rainy Days in Sight? Sunny Collections for All Major Tax Types, but Clouds Loom

On April 13th, the Utah Tax Commission, Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA), and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB) released the TC-23 Revenue Summary Report and Monthly State Revenue Snapshot for the month of April. Through three quarters of the fiscal year, sales tax posted a 20.3 percent increase over the same period in FY […]

Homelessness and Housing Affordability Investments from the 2022 General Session

Affordable Housing versus Homelessness Housing can be thought of on a continuum as shown below, divided between strategies for homelessness on the left and strategies for affordable housing for moderate income groups on the right:  According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), housing is considered affordable if the gross monthly cost […]

2022 General Session Updates to Arts, Heritage, and Economic Development Grants

During the 2022 General Session, legislators embarked upon a new approach to grant funding for arts, heritage, culture, events, and economic development. They attempted to balance the Legislature’s constitutional role in appropriating with a desire for greater accountability and transparency from grant recipients. To do so, they reworked pass-through funding at the Department of Cultural […]

Spring Brings Strong Forecasts and Updated Collections

Monday, March 14th, the Tax Commission released its Revenue Summary report (TC-23) concurrent with the monthly Revenue Snapshot produced by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB). Both reports detail tax revenue through March and contrast those collections to last year’s receipts (TC-23) and predicted state revenue (Revenue Snapshot). […]

Robust Revenues Continue into the 2022 General Session

On Tuesday, January 18th, the 2022 General Session kicks off at the Utah State Capitol. For the following 45 days, lawmakers will consider new legislation and authorize the state’s budget for the remainder of FY 2022 along with the whole of FY 2023. To balance the state’s budget, legislators need key pieces of information including […]

Gold Room at Utah Capitol

Tax Commission Annual Report Details Historic Year for Revenues

On December 30th, the Utah State Tax Commission released their Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021. From July 2020 to June 2021, the state of Utah collected $13.97 billion in tax revenues, which represents a 30.5 percent increase over FY 2020. Most of the growth is attributed to the income tax filing deadline delay, adjusting […]

Legislative and Executive Branches Announce Joint Plan for Performance Initiatives

On December 7th, staff from the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB) released a plan for how the legislative and executive branches will work together to enhance performance measurement and efficiency of government processes in the State.  Staff developed the plan as directed by H.B. 326, […]

Utah’s Revenue Comparisons Muddled by Federal Intervention

Federal Stimulus Likely Behind FY 2021 Yearend Figures This month the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB) released their Revenue Snapshots for the final, year-end of FY 2021 as well as first quarter of FY 2022, based on the TC-23 Revenue Summary reports from the Utah State Tax […]

Updated Guidance for the American Rescue Plan Act, in Context for Utah

In March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was the third tranche of fiscal stimulus aimed to address revenue and policy issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, the Treasury updated guidance to clarify permissible uses of funding. As promised, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst has released a supplement to their initial […]

Picture from the steps of the Utah Capitol

Federal Intervention Drives Unpredicted Growth in Preliminary FY 2021 Year-End Tax Collections

According to the Utah State Tax Commission’s preliminary 2021 fiscal year-end TC-23 revenue summary and an accompanying Revenue Snapshot from the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, preliminary data show total state revenues up 30.5 percent at the end of FY 2021 compared to FY 2020. This […]

Economists Warn of Inflationary Pressure as Surplus Trickles In

On Monday, June 14th, the Tax Commission released their TC-23 revenue summary, detailing collections through period 11 of the 2021 Fiscal Year, along with the Revenue Snapshot produced by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office economists. In stark contrast to June of 2020, when the legislature passed appropriations bills reducing ongoing budgets, it appears […]

Sales Tax Exceeds Expectations, Income Tax Still Boosted from 2020 Filings

On May 14th, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget released their Revenue Snapshot summary, based on the Tax Commission’s TC-23 revenue summary for May of 2021. Growth to all state funds slightly exceeded projections, posting a 28.3% growth rate through 10 months of the Fiscal Year (FY). From all sources, […]

What’s in Store for the 2021 First Special Session?

On Monday, May 10th, 2021 the United States Treasury released additional guidance related to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). While there are still many unknowns, we now know: 1. Utah will receive its state allocation in two 50 percent tranches, with half arriving this May and the remaining in May 2022. 2. Which industries […]

Capitol Plaza Trees

Revenue through Third Quarter Lags Projections

Utah’s General and Education Fund revenue collections for the first nine months of fiscal year 2021 slightly lag projected full-year growth rates. Through March, General and Education Fund collections have grown by 26.3% compared with an expected 27.9% for the fiscal year* as a whole. Should this -1.6% differential remain unchanged in the remaining three […]

Legislators Alter the Trajectory of Taxation in Utah

Have you ever laid awake at night wondering ‘when did Utah start collecting sales tax?’, ‘was income tax always earmarked for education?’ or even ‘I wonder if there’s a lag between recessions and income tax collection?’ If you have, you may be a fiscal analyst at heart.* The answer to all these questions and more […]

What Does the American Rescue Plan Act Mean for Utah?

On March 11th, Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, the third (and likely final) round of stimulus funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the total $1.9 trillion in Federal aid, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) estimates that over $8.3 billion will make its way to Utah in […]

Revenue On-Pace through Month Eight

The Utah State Tax Commission released updated revenue collection data today. For the first eight months of fiscal year 2021, General and Education Fund revenue is slightly below our latest point projections, but well within range to hit our target at year-end. Sales tax continues to be stronger than anticipated. Income tax is almost exactly […]

It’s a Wrap! The 2021 General Session Comes to a Close

The Utah Legislature adjourned on the 45th day of a General Session which was groundbreaking in many ways. Utah’s $23.5 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022 includes $10 billion in spending from the General and Education funds, and nearly $7 billion from Federal funds. During a pandemic, the Utah legislature was able to fund very […]

Revenue Forecasts Improve, though Uncertainty Lingers

On February 19th, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), Utah Tax Commission, and the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) released their updated Consensus Revenue Estimates for available one-time and ongoing state fund revenues. These updated estimates from the December 2020 forecasts paint somewhat optimistic expectations for the next 16 months; with FY 2021 revenues […]

Rollercoaster Year Ends on a Positive Note for Revenue Collections

On December 16th, the Tax Commission released the TC-23 revenue summary detailing the first five months of collections to state funds. The Education Fund remains a bit enigmatic, due to inflating factors (including federal stimulus and the income tax timing delay) which leave current year income tax collections trending off the charts. The General Fund […]

Despite Future Uncertainty, Revenues Continue Upward Growth

On Monday, November 16th, the Tax Commission released the TC-23 revenue summary, along with the GOMB/LFA Revenue Snapshot, detailing collections through the first four months of Fiscal Year 2021. Similar to last month’s report, important caveats exist within the income and sales collection figures, and also year-over-year comparisons. October of 2019 was the first month […]

Revenue Through Q1 Boosted by Online Sales and Federal Stimulus

Federal Stimulus Helps FY 2020 End Better than Expected Earlier this month, the Tax Commission released the final TC-23 Revenue Summary for Fiscal Year 2020. The revenue decline to the Education Fund was less severe than previously projected in June, dropping 10.1% compared to the projected 11.6% decline. The General Fund ended the year with […]

Federal Stimulus Appears to Band-Aid Revenues through close of Fiscal Year 2020

The preliminary TC-23 Revenue Summary Report for twelve months of FY 2020 was released by the Tax Commission Thursday, July 16th, along with the Revenue Snapshot report from the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) and the Governor’s Office and Management and Budget (GOMB). The TC-23 is preliminary in that it will be modified […]