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

Introducing the Reimagined

During the Executive Appropriations Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 16th, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst unveiled the newly designed budget website for the state of Utah. The site (affectionately referred to by LFA as the acronym ‘B.U.G.’) aims to make it easy for legislators and the public to find products while also understanding […]

May 17, 2023

H-2-Whoa: 2023 General Session Investments in Water Management

Whether addressing the issue of having too much or too little water, recent hydrologic conditions of the state have kept law makers on their toes. Last year, the state made several large investments focused on mitigating drought conditions and increasing conservation, of which $450 million was funded by the American Rescue Plant Act (ARPA) and […]

May 5, 2023

Financing NOAA’s Arc

You don’t need the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to tell you that Utah’s winter packed a wallop. No matter how you measure it – 750 inches of snowfall or 30 inches of snow water equivalent in Utah’s mountains – all that water has to go somewhere, and it’s all downhill from there. NOAA’s […]

April 21, 2023

A Look at Recent Events in Tax Collection History

This month’s Revenue Summary Report from the Utah State Tax Commission (TC-23) and April Revenue Snapshot produced by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget show General and Income Tax Fund collections through April 7th up 12.2% over the same collection period in FY 2022. While Legislative Fiscal Analysts don’t enjoy […]

April 14, 2023

Too Blessed to be Stressed, Pt. 2: 2023 Updates to Budget Contingencies

Last December, Legislative economists presented their findings from the 2022 Budget Stress Testing exercise to the Executive Appropriations Committee in a report jointly prepared with the Governor’s Office. Stress testing is one part of the long-term fiscal sustainability analysis required under UAC 36-12-13. In a three-year cycle, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst is […]

March 31, 2023

Luck Remains as Revenue Collections Stay Golden

Earlier this week, the Tax Commission released their Revenue Summary (TC-23) for March, detailing collections through March 7th, 2023. The Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget jointly released their revenue snapshot, summarizing monthly revenue in contrast to yearly forecasts. Through the first eight months of the fiscal year, […]

March 17, 2023

Sine Die and to all a Goodnight: A Budget Summary of the 2023 Legislature

The Utah Legislature concluded its 2023 General Session with a budget of $29.4 billion for fiscal year 2024. The budget includes $14.6 billion from state funds (General Fund, Income Tax Fund, Uniform School Fund) and $170 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Top legislative budget priorities included state fund investments in:                                 As […]

March 3, 2023

Spotlight on Infrastructure: Recent Large Investments in Water, Roads, and More

Over the last two General Sessions, the Legislature has made significant investments in Utah’s transportation, water, recreation, and other categories of infrastructure, financed by extraordinary General Fund surpluses and federal stimulus (primarily the American Rescue Plan Act). In the table below, you will see summarized amounts according to area of infrastructure, along with a link […]

February 25, 2023

Nothing is Certain in Life, Except Death and the Volatility of Income Taxes

Individual income tax is one of the most discussed and examined sources of revenue in Utah, and for good reason — most of us pay individual income tax, and it is also the largest single source of revenue to the state. While it may seem a familiar topic, there are many nuances that contribute to […]

February 17, 2023

Passing the Baton: Subcommittees Present Priorities to Executive Appropriations Committee

We’ve crossed the halfway point of the 45-day General Session, meaning that appropriations subcommittees have officially concluded their work to review agency budgets, make necessary approvals, and prioritize wish lists for new funding. The process of prioritizing new funding requests is laid out in the Joint Rule 3-2-402. Requests for new funding come from agencies […]

February 9, 2023

Hidden in Plain (Web)sites

Each year, appropriators spend most of the Legislative General Session jockeying for available General and Income Tax Fund revenue. That’s understandable, given that the General and Income Tax Funds are the most versatile funds that can be appropriated. These funds are based on broad taxes and spending from them is, for the most part, discretionary. […]

February 3, 2023

Walking the Line: What Value is the State Getting for its Investments?

It’s budget season.  Each year during the General Session, the Legislature appropriates the state budget – but the budget isn’t just money to be spent.  The budget is policymakers’ investment in services and other priorities of the state, on behalf of the taxpayers.    What value is the state getting for its investments?  The Legislature changed […]

January 27, 2023

The ABCs of RFAs

Requests for Appropriation – commonly referred to as RFAs – are a method for legislators to obtain funding for a public project, or to expand an existing program within state government. This method of funding is not to be confused with the funding associated with passed bills, as RFAs are not designed to support the […]

January 20, 2023

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 […]

January 17, 2023

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 […]

January 6, 2023

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 […]

December 30, 2022

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 […]

December 23, 2022

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 […]

December 16, 2022

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 […]

December 13, 2022

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 […]

December 9, 2022

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 […]

December 2, 2022

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 […]

November 28, 2022

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 […]

November 21, 2022

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 […]

November 11, 2022

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 […]

November 4, 2022

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 […]

October 19, 2022

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 […]

October 11, 2022

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 […]

September 30, 2022

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 […]

September 23, 2022