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 provide accountability, transparency, and ensure new state funding is used in the way the Legislature intended? And what actions can legislators take when projects don’t go as planned?
The New Funding Follow-up Report is the answer to those questions. The 2023 report encompasses 359 projects and offers 118 options for appropriations subcommittees to consider in their October meetings. For example, over $250,000 in funds were left over after one agency fully implemented a project. The legislative financial analyst assigned to this agency recommended that their appropriations subcommittee reallocate the remaining one-time funds to a better use within the department—promoting fiscal responsibility in state government.
This Report Enables Stakeholders
To Dive into Reported Results
This year’s edition was presented to the Executive Appropriations Committee on September 18, 2023 and summarizes $2.4 billion in new funding. Relying on data provided by various state agencies, the report highlights trends in spending, implementation, and performance for funded projects as shown below:
The report’s interactive structure using multiple dashboards allows legislators and stakeholders to drill down into reported data to assess where taxpayer dollars went. Was it all spent? Is the project complete? How were taxpayers better served by the results? This dashboard specifically allows users to filter based on results and follow-up on their areas of interest.
This Report Allows Analysts to Recommend
Additional Follow-up and Reallocation of Funds
Financial analysts staffing the Legislature’s seven appropriations subcommittees and EAC have synthesized the data represented in the New Funding Follow-up Report to present recommendations to the Legislature. Specific emphasis has been placed on implemented projects that did not spend their appropriation as well as projects with future implementation dates. These may require additional reporting after projects are implemented and data become available. All Utah legislators serve on an appropriations subcommittee and can download a copy of their analyst recommendations, which will resemble the excerpt shown below:
This Report Promotes Accountability for Multi-Year Projects
Infrastructure and other projects with the biggest price tags often correspond with the lengthiest implementation schedules, with reporting set for the year of their intended completion. We believe that this delayed reporting promotes accountability for Utah’s largest projects.
Accordingly, a new feature of this report tracks previously funded projects that are scheduled for completion in future years. The “Future Years” tab includes a breakdown of the reporting status for projects funded in the previous three legislative sessions, including $4.2 billion in funded projects that will be implemented and reviewed in the next few years.
As the Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst strives to provide objective, accurate, and relevant budget advice, we believe that the 2023 edition of the New Funding Follow-up Report is a valuable tool that provides information, trends, and recommendations for legislators and stakeholders. This information can be utilized to promote accountability and fiscal responsibility.