On October 16, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst’s Office reported to members of the Executive Appropriations Committee that Utah closed fiscal year 2018 with a budget surplus of nearly $158 million ($8 m GF/$150 m EF). For purposes of comparison, at the same time the prior year, fiscal year 2017 ended with a $27 million surplus. This is certainly good news in that it means Utah’s economy expanded beyond expectations in FY 2018. At the same time, the size of this surplus suggests that it is not sustainable in the long-run. Using this one-time money wisely will avoid making promises that cannot be kept.
To that end, Utah also made significant deposits into reserve accounts at the end of FY 2018. An additional $6 million went into the general rainy-day fund, $65 million into the education rainy day-fund, and $30 million into the Medicaid rainy-day fund. The State deposited $1 million into the Disaster Recovery Account and $4 million into the Wildland Fire Suppression fund. These amounts are on top of the $95 million that legislators appropriated to reserves last General Session ($73 m General RDF/$12 m Education RDF/$10 m Student Growth Account).
You can find further information on the surplus and reserve fund balances on the Division of Finance’s Financial Highlights document and on the Legislature’s Fiscal Health Dashboard. These numbers are preliminary and subject to change as the state completes its annual audit of financial statements.