Blog Roll (Default)

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 […]

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 […]