New Budget Estimates Don't Leave Legislators A Lot To Work With | KUER 90.1

New Budget Estimates Don't Leave Legislators A Lot To Work With

Feb 22, 2016

Budget analysts have given the Utah Legislature updated estimates for how much money the state is bringing in.

Analysts say the state is taking in $10 million less than what they had predicted in December. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more money to spend. Legislators still have an additional $150 million in one-time spending, and $400 million in ongoing spending they can give out this year. Republican Senator Lyle HIllyard is the chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee. He says even though $400 million seems like a lot of new money, they basically already know where the majority of it will be spent.

“We’ll take probably $93 off the top to pay for growth in public education," he says. "We’ll probably take another $40 million dollars for the increased cost of Medicaid expansion. That’s for new people who apply under the old program and the increased cost of the old program. This is nothing to do with the expansion of Medicaid itself.”

Hillyard says they’d also like to put some of the money toward paying off the $118 million bond already authorized to build the new prison. Other large requests include an increase to the amount school districts get paid per student, salary increases for state workers, and money to pay for more professional development days for teachers. And that’s all before getting to the growing list of smaller requests and costs associated with some bills