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Utah state budget (2009-2010)

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's office predicted that the state's budget shortfall for FY2010 was about $28 million, although final numbers would be released in November 2010.[1] Earlier in the fiscal year, the governor called for state agencies to cut spending by 3% - an estimated $39 million - in FY2010.[2] The state would receive approximately $156 million from the federal government under H.R. 1586, a $26 billion plan to give states money for Medicaid and education that the President signed into law on August 10, 2010.[3]

Utah gained national attention in 2008, being the first state government in the nation to adopt a 40-hour, four-day work week as a cost saving measure to address state revenue declines.[4]

Utah had total state debt of $9,254,242,020 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding debt, pension and OPEB UAAL’s, unemployment trust funds and the 2010 budget gap as of July 2010.[5]

2011 State spending & deficit in billions[6]
Total spending Healthcare Education Protection Transport Other
$4.8 $.36 $3 $.39 $0.003 $1
2011 Local spending & deficit in billions[7]
Total spending Pension Healthcare Education Welfare Protection Transport Deficit
$14.9 $0 $0.3 $4.3 $0.3 $1.1 $1.2 $16.2

FY2010 State Budget

The FY2010 budget passed by Gov. Jon Huntsman (Gov. Huntsman resigned in August 2009 to become Ambassador to China, and was replaced by Gov. Gary R. Herbert)[8] projects state tax revenue would be down 17.8 percent from the FY 2009 original projection ($949 million). Utah was expected to receive $1.4 billion ARRA funds through a variety of programs, including $498 million for State Fiscal Stabilization. For additional budget stabilization, Utah maintains the Budget Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund) and Education Budget Reserve Fund (Education Rainy Day Fund) with a combined total balance of $418.5 million.[9][10]

Utah's total budget for FY 2010 was $11.2 billion, $4.4 billion of which was the General Fund/Education Fund. The state's historical General Fund/Education Fund budgets had been:[11] The current debt per capita is $957.[12]

FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 Original FY 2009 Adjusted FY 2010
$5.3 billion $5.2 billion $5.3 billion $4.5 billion $4.4 billion

Budget background

See also: Utah state budget and finances

Utah's fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following year. Every year the state's agencies submit budget requests along with past expenditures and allocations. Usually by December the Governor develops a budget recommendation which was then delivered to the Legislature. Following a series of hearings and discussions the Senate and the House make any necessary changes before approving the final bill. Once the appropriations bills were debated and the Legislature as a whole passes them the bills were signed by the Governor.[13]

By law, the Governor, within three days after the convening of the Legislature in the annual general session, submits a budget for the ensuing fiscal year. However, at least 34 days before the submission of any budget, the Governor delivers a confidential draft copy of his proposed budget recommendations.[14]

John Nixon was Executive Director of the Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB). The budget section under the direction of Phillip Jeffery, provided budgetary analyses, reviews program plans and budget details, and prepares budget detail for the annual Governor's Budget Recommendation to the Utah State Legislature. At the conclusion of each general session, analysts summarize appropriations and monitor expenditures throughout the year.[15][16]

  • In March 2008 the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) presented a report that stated that Utah's low taxes and controlled spending mean it's primed for prosperity. "The economic growth really, really shows that limited government and low taxes were the way to prosper in this world," said Jonathan Williams, ALEC's director of tax and fiscal policy task force and co-author of the report.[17][18]

Budget figures

The following table provided a history of Utah's expenditures and gross domestic product (GDP).

Fiscal Year Expenditures (billions) GDP (billions)
2000 $13.0[19] $67.6[19]
2001 $14.3[19] $70.1[19]
2002 $15.5[19] $72.7[19]
2003 $16.1[19] $75.4[19]
2004 $16.7[19] $80.9[19]
2005 $17.3[19] $88.9[19]
2006 $18.5[19] $98.0[19]
2007 $19.9[19] $105.7[19]
2008 $21.3[19] $114.0[19]
2009 $22.8*[19] $122.9*[19]
  • NOTE: The figures for FY 2009 were not finalized

Accounting principles

See also: Utah government accounting principles

The Utah Office of the State Auditor was responsible for state and local audits. The Financial Audit Division was responsible for auditing all state departments, agencies and colleges and universities. The Local Government Division ensures uniform accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting by Utah's local governments. Audit reports for the current year and two prior years were available online. Auston Johnson had been State Auditor since July 1995 and was re-elected for a four-year term starting January 1, 2009.[20][21]

The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rates Utah “Timely” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA did not consider Utah's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis did not included significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care.[22] Utah's CAFRs were a publication of the Utah Division of Finance (DAF), a division within the Utah State Department of Administrative Services (DAS). Kimberly K. Hood was Executive Director of the DAS, and John Reidhead was the Director of the Division of Finance, Utah's chief fiscal officer and responsible for exercising accounting control over state departments and agencies except institutions of higher education. DAF responsibilities included:[23][24]

  • Procedures for the approval and allocation of funds
  • Accounting control over fund assets
  • Approval of proposed expenditures

The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) was created by the Forty-fourth Legislature in March 1981 with passage of the Administrative Services Act. This action was a result of an organizational study of state administrative services by the Governor's Committee on Executive Reorganization (Agency #357).[25]

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Utah[26] AAA Aaa AAA

Budget transparency

In 2008, the Utah State Legislature passed SB 38. The bill proposed the availability of public financial information on the Internet. Additionally it modified notice requirements of the Open and Public Meetings Act.[27]

  • 05/22/09: Transparency Site Launched in Utah:

Spending transparency continues to spread, this week with the launch of Utah's new spending database.[28] This site reveals some of the state's finances and included expenditure and revenue data beginning with fiscal year 2009. In the next twelve months even more data would be put online, data such as financials for institutions of higher education, school districts, and charter schools. Overseeing this site and its contents were the Utah Transparency Advisory Board and the Department of Administrative Services (Division of Finance). The site did not post state employee salaries, although some information about Utah's employees' salaries was already available.Utah state government salary

Utah Senate Bill 38 (2008), Transparency in Government mandated the creation of a publicly available spending database by May 15, 2009.[29]

The following table was helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by Utah's spending and transparency database:[30]

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary
Transparent Utah Y
600px-Yes check.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Yes check.png
600px-Red x.png

Although this database did not list information about Utah's contracts, that information had been made available online.[31]

See also: Evaluation of Utah state website

Economic stimulus transparency

  • Utah would receive approximately $156 million from the federal government under HR 1586, a $26 billion plan to give states money for Medicaid and education that the President signed into law on August 10, 2010.[32][33]

See also

Utah government sector lobbying

Utah public pensions

Utah state budget and finances

External links

Additional reading


  1. The Daily Herald "Utah budget shortfall estimated at nearly $28M" Sept. 8, 2010 (dead link)
  2. KCPW, "Governor Herbert Unveils Budget," December 11, 2009 (dead link)
  3. Federal Fund Information for States “ARRA FMAP Extension & Education Jobs Fund Totals” Aug. 11, 2010
  4. Associated Press, "4-day week seems to work well for Utah: Other states show interest in savings," March 1, 2009
  5. State Budget Solutions “States Hide Trillions in Debt” July 22, 2010
  6. Summaries/FY2011_SumBk.pdf Office of the Governor, Budget FY2011 (dead link)
  7. USA Spending, State Guesstimated* Government Spending
  8. Ballotpedia, "Jon Huntsmans," accessed November 16, 2009
  9. , "Fiscal Year 2010 Fiscal Year 2009 Supplementals," June 2009
  10. The FY 2010 budget
  11. , "Fiscal Year 2010 Fiscal Year 2009 Supplementals," June 2009
  12. New Mexico Watchdog, Aug. 3, 2010
  13. Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, "Budget Process," accessed April 7,2009
  14. National Association of Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States," 2008 (dead link)
  15. Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget Web site, accessed November 16, 2009
  16. Budget resources
  17. Salt Lake Tribune, "Report said Utah's economy ready to charge," March 17,2009
  18. Rich States, Poor States (dead link)
  19. 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 19.11 19.12 19.13 19.14 19.15 19.16 19.17 19.18 19.19 US Government Spending, "Utah State and Local spending," accessed April 7,2009
  20. Utah Office of the State Auditor Web site, accessed November 16, 2009
  21. Audit reports
  22. Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35
  23. Utah State Department of Administrative Services Web site, accessed November 16, 2009
  24. CAFRs (dead link)
  25. Utah State Department of Administrative Services Web site, accessed November 16, 2009
  26. State of Indiana, “State Credit Ratings-as of June 24, 2009"
  27. State of Utah, "Performance Elevated," accessed April 7, 2009
  28. Utah Transparency
  29. "Transparency in Government."
  30. Utah's spending and transparency database:
  31. Utah General Services - Contracts
  32. Federal Fund Information for States “ARRA FMAP Extension & Education Jobs Fund Totals” Aug. 11, 2010
  33. H.R. 1586
  34. Wall Street Journal, "Stimulus Spending by State," March 12,2009