The Filing Finale: State Budget Ready for Tax Season

For the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA), it’s almost the happiest time of year. With the General Session in the rearview mirror, economists now watch with anticipation as the state income tax fund should see the largest single bump of the fiscal year. While April 15th has come and gone, revenue reports won’t show the outcome […]

April 19, 2024

Of Budgets and Brine Shrimp: Recent Investments in Utah’s Water

It’s hard to believe that two years ago we were writing about the abnormally dry conditions gripping the state, while last year the legislature considered how to pay for the impending threat of flooding. It’s true that every General Session has the common problem of predicting what resources will be needed up to 15 months […]

April 12, 2024

A Hare Above: Spring Revenues Nearly Identical to 2023

Late last week, the Tax Commission released their revenue summary report, detailing collections through eight months of the Fiscal Year (FY). As of March 7th, revenue to all sources grew 0.2%, or $22.8 million, over FY 2023. The March Revenue Snapshot, produced by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, […]

March 21, 2024

Good GRAMA: Evaluating the State Records Committee Appeal Process

The Legislative Fiscal Analyst’s Performance and Operations Team recently published two new efficiency evaluations of state agency programs: Last December, we highlighted some of the operations methodologies that the team uses for process improvement. In this post, we describe how various methodologies relate to each of the recommendations made to the State Records Committee for […]

March 15, 2024

The Buck $tops Here: A Budget Summary of the 65th Legislature

The Utah Legislature concluded the 2024 General Session with an operating and capital budget of $29.4 billion for fiscal year 2025. The budget includes $12.9 billion from the sales-taxed backed General Fund and the Income Tax Fund. Top legislative budget priorities included state fund investments in:  As required by the Utah Constitution, legislators balanced the […]

March 1, 2024

Charting the Course: Navigating Revised Revenue Estimates

On Friday, February 16th, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst along with the Governor’s Office announced updated consensus revenue estimates for Fiscal Years (FY) 2024 and 2025. The net impact of these modest changes are positive. While the last few years of astronomical growth may paint available revenue in a lackluster light, in reality these figures demonstrate […]

February 16, 2024

The Second Act: Subcommittee Priorities Set the Stage for EAC

As week four of the 2024 General Session comes to a close, so too does the work of appropriations subcommittees. Next Monday and Tuesday, the Executive Appropriations Committee (EAC) will hear reports from each of the seven topical budget committees. These reports detail all committee actions including motions, intent language, reallocations, fees, and the coveted […]

February 9, 2024

Finding Hope: Recent Investments in Behavioral Health Services

Recently, the Utah Legislature has identified the need to invest in mental health interventions and crisis support. S.B. 155, “988 Mental Health Crisis Assistance” (2021 General Session) created the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline line. The 988 Lifeline, which went live July 2022, has provided support, resources, and hope to individuals experiencing mental health emergencies […]

February 2, 2024

Metrics that Matter: Performance in the Budgeting Process

Management expert Peter Drucker said, “what gets measured, gets managed.” As a state, Utah is committed to wisely using state dollars in order to provide effective services. Recently, state agencies have been refining their strategic plans to better communicate a path to serve citizens (see executive branch agencies strategic plans). This effort focuses on the […]

January 26, 2024

If Wishes Were Fishes: Balancing Revenues and Requests

Revenue Updates Earlier this week, the Tax Commission released the latest revenue summary, detailing collections through January 8th. This month’s report captures sales and wages from the first half of the holiday rush. Accordingly, it’s no surprise that Sales Tax revenues ticked up slightly from December’s revenue recap. In all, collections to the General Fund […]

January 19, 2024

COBI. This is the Way.

We Budgeteers of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst are over-the-moon about this year’s edition of the Compendium of Budget Information (COBI)! Of course, we are also over-the-moon about the return of Mando and Grogu later this year. We’re the staff office whose conference room is named after a popular space opera, after all. Consider the source. […]

January 16, 2024

Confetti and Customer Service: Legislative Performance Initiative Rings in 2024

As the Legislature kicks off the 2024 General Session, many budget discussions will focus on how the Legislature can allocate funding to facilitate solutions. Meanwhile, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst’s (LFA) Performance and Operations team will focus on improving internal processes for working with agencies that implement appropriated funding. A crucial step of process improvement is […]

December 29, 2023

Unwrapping December’s Revenue Report with Cautious Optimism

On Friday, December 15th, the Tax Commission published their monthly revenue summary (detailing collections according to tax type) in conjunction with the Revenue Snapshot from the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (comparing collections to revenue estimates). Through five months of the fiscal year, the state’s General, Income and Transportation Fund […]

December 15, 2023

‘Tis the Season: Budget Season 2024 gets Underway

On Tuesday morning, Governor Spencer Cox released his budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2025. The Governor stressed “people, growth, and good government”, asking legislators to prioritize funding for housing and homelessness, mental health services, education, and employee compensation. The Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst annually provides a summary for the nearly 200 pages of […]

December 8, 2023

Plane and Simple: Budgeting for the State Air Fleet

The Utah Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division currently owns two airplanes: a King Air C90 (purchased in 1999) and a King Air B200 (purchased in 2000). These planes are available for agencies and officials to use to conduct state business. Additionally, the Department of Transportation (UDOT) leases two hangars and office space (approximately 19,000 square […]

December 1, 2023

The Real Return to Normal: FY 2023 Financial Highlights and Latest Revenue Reports

On Friday, November 17th, 2023, the Tax Commission released their Revenue Summary report, detailing collections through four months of the fiscal year. Concurrently, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget jointly published their Revenue Snapshot for November, which compares updated revenue figures to consensus revenue estimates from February of this […]

November 17, 2023

Interim Recap: Outcomes of the 2023 Accountable Budget Process

During the 2019 General Session, the Legislature passed H.J.R. 18, which amended Joint Rule 3-2-501. The bill requires each of the seven topical appropriations subcommittees to scrutinize twenty percent of their assigned budgets in a practice called the Accountable Budget Process (ABP). The goal of this interim review is to come away with an Accountable […]

November 10, 2023

Initial Revenue Reports Less Spooky than Expected

On Tuesday, October 24th, the Tax Commission released the first revenue summary report for FY 2024, which details collections for the first quarter of the fiscal year. Along with that summary, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget published the October Revenue Snapshot, comparing revenues to the consensus forecast. Through […]

October 27, 2023

2023 Update on ARPA

Starting in spring of 2020, the Federal government provided a series of stimulus packages aimed at mitigating impacts associated with the pandemic, injecting over $31 billion into the state of Utah for various purposes. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) carried the largest portion of discretionary funding under the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund […]

October 20, 2023

Bend.. and SNAP! How Medicaid & SNAP Funding Have Changed Post-Pandemic

On March 1, 2023, the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) began reviewing all Medicaid cases for eligibility. Prior to this the federal government would not allow any State to disenroll Medicaid clients regardless of eligibility changes as part of its response to the public health emergency. From March until August, the department has reviewed 121,025 […]

September 29, 2023

It’s Kind of a Money Story.. How the New Funding Follow-up Report for 2023 Answers All Your Questions 

During the Legislature’s previous three general sessions, $2 to $3 billion in new funding has been appropriated each year for two to four hundred projects. In many instances, agencies spend the full appropriation, projects are fully implemented, and taxpayers are better served. However, this isn’t always the case, which begs the question: how can we […]

September 22, 2023

In Stock Now: Efficiency Evaluations Identify Opportunities to Improve DABS Inventory Management

Efficiency evaluations are a collaborative process between the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB). The July 2023 efficiency evaluation of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services (DABS) identified opportunities to improve revenues by preventing empty shelves for top-selling products (a.k.a stockout) and avoiding losses from […]

September 1, 2023

It’s Electric! Legislative Actions on EV Charging Infrastructure

As the transportation system becomes increasingly electric, the State of Utah has taken several preparatory actions including funding planning efforts and installation projects for electric vehicle charging stations. Multiple factors are driving this transition to “electric avenue” including Federal actions, market demand, and air quality on the Wasatch Front. Frequently cited as a barrier to […]

August 25, 2023

The Cost of Counsel: A Look at the Attorney General’s Internal Service Fund

Background In response to a legislative audit during the 2016 General Session, the Legislature passed H.B. 351, “Attorney General Fiscal Amendments.” This legislation provided the Office of the Attorney General (AG) the option to function as an Internal Service Fund, or “ISF.” The AG began implementing its ISF during the 2018 General Session, concluding in […]

August 11, 2023

The Carrot, Not the Stick: Performance Based Funding for the Utah System of Higher Education

In addition to their base budget, Utah’s sixteen higher education institutions have the potential to increase annual funding in aggregate by $35 million beginning in FY 2025 if they meet certain performance goals set by the Board of Higher Education (board). The amount of performance funding is variable from year-to-year, and is defined in statute […]

July 28, 2023

Right on Schedule: Yearend Revenues align within Consensus Forecast

On Thursday, July 13, the Tax Commission released its preliminary year-end Revenue Summary report detailing collections through 12 months of the fiscal year. Simultaneously, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget produced their monthly Revenue Snapshot which compares collected revenue to the consensus forecast. As of July 10th, revenue to all […]

July 14, 2023

What in the TANF? Eligible Uses of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Funding

In 1996, Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). TANF replaced three separate preexisting programs: Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills training, and the Emergency Assistance program. Under TANF, the federal government provides a fixed block-grant […]

June 30, 2023

Driving a Culture Shift: Creating Performance Measures to Enhance Public Service Value 

In today’s rapidly evolving world, government agencies face the crucial task of continuously improving their services to better serve the public. The paradigm has shifted from mere service delivery to emphasizing value creation for citizens. Utah has been actively working to measure government performance for over a decade now through various initiatives. In 2021, the […]

June 23, 2023

Revenues through June Nearly Identical to FY 2022

On Thursday, June 15th, the Tax Commission released their Revenue Summary report, detailing collections through 11 months of FY 2023. Through June 7th, Sales and Use Tax in total is up 6.7% year-over-year (YoY) and up 5.5% YoY excluding Sales and Use Tax Set-Asides. Individual Income Tax is down, (5.6%) when compared to the same […]

June 16, 2023

How Will the Fiscal Responsibility Act Impact Utah?

At a glance, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023: With the all-important “X-date” nearly upon us (the projected day when the federal government would no longer be able pay its bills), a default-avoiding deal to suspend the federal debt ceiling has been reached. Over the last week, negotiations were drafted into a bill which passed […]

June 2, 2023

BOTSU: Simply the Best

The Budget of the State of Utah (BOTSU) is an annual report detailing budget actions taken during legislative sessions, providing the historical record for state appropriations made during each meeting of the legislature. BOTSU is an office-wide publication of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA), all subcommittee staff participate in writing the chapters for their respective […]

May 26, 2023

Income Tax Collections Down Slightly, As Expected

On Tuesday, May 16th, the Tax Commission released their Revenue Summary Report detailing collections through 10 months of the fiscal year, in conjunction with the May Revenue Snapshot produced by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget which compares collections to consensus revenue estimates. Total collections to all sources were down […]

May 19, 2023