‘Tis the Season: Budget Season 2024 gets Underway

December 8, 2023

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 recommendations, available here.

On Tuesday afternoon, legislative leaders met in the Executive Appropriations Committee (EAC) to kick-off the Legislature’s budget process. The committee heard several reports on state revenue volatility that conclude our collections are returning to a more typical and sustainable pattern. EAC also heard how the $20 million savings due to declining K-12 enrollment will be more than offset by the $44 million in new costs from expanded special education rolls and longer kindergarten days, on top of an additional $165 million in inflationary pressure. Legislative staff also detailed how the unwinding of a federally-imposed freeze on Medicaid rolls will save Utah $103 million one-time and $43 million ongoing in state dollars over the next year and a half.

As is customary in December, appropriators adopted new revenue estimates reflecting 3% year-over-year growth. They voted to fund mandatory costs and take mandatory savings in base budgets, resulting in an overall decrease in subcommittee spending targets. Legislative leaders then set-aside newly available resources for a potential tax cut, employee compensation, and significant infrastructure improvements.