Difference between revisions of "Utah state budget and finances"

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(U.S. PIRG Following the Money report)
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In the governor's proposed budget, $297.6 million of the projected additional state revenue, approximately 2/3 of revenue, goes to public and higher education. That includes $26 million for the weighted pupil unit, in which school officials wanted to see a 2 percent increase, while Herbert recommended just more than 1 percent increase.<ref name=top/>
In the governor's proposed budget, $297.6 million of the projected additional state revenue, approximately 2/3 of revenue, goes to public and higher education. That includes $26 million for the weighted pupil unit, in which school officials wanted to see a 2 percent increase, while Herbert recommended just more than 1 percent increase.<ref name=top/>
==FY2013 State Budget==
Lawmakers approved the $12.81 billion [[Utah]] state budget on March 8, 2012.<ref name=report>[http://le.utah.gov/lfa/reports/FY2013AppropriationsReport.pdf Utah FY2012-13 Appropriations Report by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst May 2012]</ref><ref name=quiet>[http://www.heraldextra.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/mostly-quiet-legislative-session-concludes/article_080f40f8-469d-5006-9397-833e31ccaaed.html The Daily Herald "Mostly quiet Legislative session concludes March 9, 2012]</reF>  It increases spending from the prior year by approximately $440 million.<Ref name=grows>[http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53677563-90/state-budget-health-million.html.csp The Salt Lake Tribune "Budget grows as state shakes off recession" March 9, 2012]</ref>  State revenues are projected to increase by more than $360 million.<ref name=quiet/>
The budget does not raise taxes.<ref name=quiet/>
The total state debt will drop about $130 million under the plan. Still, the state has about $1,200 in debt for every Utahn.<ref name=grows/>
Highlights of the budget include:
*a 1 percent raise for state employees, including higher education employees and lawmakers set aside money for school districts to give K-12 teachers 1 percent raises;<ref name=quiet/>
*$87 million more funds than FY2012 for Medicaid to address the increase of Utahns enrolling in the program;<ref name=grows/>
*$110 million in new funds for public education, including the  $41 million the governor requested to cover an enrollment increase of 12,500 students.<ref name=grows/>
Of the total budget funds, 27 percent come from the federal government.<ref name=report/>
Early in FY2013, the officials spent $50 million fighting wildfires, $16 million of expenses paid for by the state.<ref>[http://www.koamtv.com/story/19347999/costs-of-big-wildfire-season-hurting-some-states KOAMtv.com Aug. 23, 2012]</ref> The budget allocated only $3 million for that expense.<ref>[http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_21377777/wildfires-burning-through-some-states-budgets The Denver Post "Costs of big wildfire season hurting some states" Aug. 23, 2012]</ref>
'''Governor's Proposed Budget'''
On Dec. 12, 2011, [[Gary R. Herbert|Gov. Gary Herbert]] released his proposed FY2013 budget of $12.9 billion.<ref name=unveils>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9RJ6M480.htm Businessweek "Utah governor unveils $12.9B budget proposal" Dec. 12, 2011]</ref>  Highlights of the proposed budget include:
* $2.5 billion would go to K-12 public education with $111 million in new funding, including $41 million to help cover an enrollment increase of 12,500 students during the next school year;
*$93 million more in higher education funding.<ref name=unveils/>
The budget spends $160 million more than FY2012 on Medicaid, with enrollment in the program expected to grow by 39,000 individuals.<ref name=unveils/>
A budget summary released by Herbert shows that state revenues are climbing to $5 billion from a low of $4.2 billion two years ago.  The plan does not include any tax increases.<ref name=unveils/>  The governor asked lawmakers to cut unemployment insurance tax rates for the state’s 85,000 employers, “and allow them to create more jobs and hire more people.”<Ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-31/governors-seeking-jobs-offer-tax-breaks-as-budget-woes-ease.html Businessweek  "Governors Seeking Jobs Offer Tax Breaks as Budget Woes Ease" Jan. 31, 2012]</ref>
Lawmakers will discuss the governor's proposed budget when the legislative session opens Jan. 23, 2012.<ref name=unveils/>
==FY2012 State Budget==
==FY2012 State Budget==

Revision as of 11:35, 5 May 2014

Utah state budget

Flag of Utah.png
Budget calendar:  Annual
Fiscal year:  2014
Other state budgets
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Lawmakers approved the $13 billion Utah state budget for FY2013 on March 8, 2012.[1] It increases spending from the prior year by approximately $440 million.[2] In December 2011, Gov. Gary Herbert proposed a $12.9 billion budget for FY2013, which would increase funding for K-12 education and higher education.[3]

Utah operates on an annual budget cycle.[4] The state's fiscal year begins July 1.

As of FY2012, Utah had a total state debt of approximately $24,582,129,000 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and the budget gap.[5] The FY2013 state debt is slightly lower than the prior year's approximate debt total of $24,792,086,000.[6]Utah's total state debt per capita was $8,725.66.[7]

According to a 2012 study by 24/7 Wall Street, Utah is the fourth best run state taking into account debt per capita, budget deficits, unemployment, median household income, and the percentage of the percentage of the population below the poverty line. The best run state is North Dakota and the worst run state is California.[8]

Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Utah 26.33% (#36) 30.02% (#36) 33.06% (#38) 31.55% (#39)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[9][10]

FY2014 State Budget

Gov. Gary Herbert proposed his FY2014 $12. 8 billion state budget on Dec. 12, 2012. The governor's budget recommendation book can be found online.[11]. The budget anticipates a surplus of $400 million.[12]

In the governor's proposed budget, $297.6 million of the projected additional state revenue, approximately 2/3 of revenue, goes to public and higher education. That includes $26 million for the weighted pupil unit, in which school officials wanted to see a 2 percent increase, while Herbert recommended just more than 1 percent increase.[12]

FY2012 State Budget

State lawmakers first created the FY2012 state budget with 7% across the board cuts budget based on revenue projections made in December 2010, but the February 2011 projections showed that the state would have more revenue would be higher than expected. Lawmakers then restored money to the base budget that was originally cut.[13]

The $12 billion budget FY2012 is essentially flat, with an additional $50 million proposed for public education and about $37 million for Medicaid growth.[14]

State parks lost $4 million in ongoing funds, but it was replaced with $4 million in one-time money. While lawmakers said they were working to find ongoing funds, it likely won’t be the full $4 million.[15]

Medicaid cost the state $1.8 billion, which is approximately 9 percent of the state budget.[16]

A summary of the budget prepared by the state can be found here.

Structural Imbalance

The structural imbalance in the FY 2012 budget is approximately $52 million, down substantially from $313 million in FY 2011.[17]


The Legislature found a way to fund K-12 public education higher than the governor asked, with an increase of $50 million, and it also funded the growth of students in the system, more than 14,000 of them. The budget cuts funding to higher education by 2.5% but said that colleges and universities could make up the difference in raising tuition fees for students.[13] The increase of $50 million includes $34.5 million ongoing and $15.6 million in one-time funds.[17]

Governor's Proposed Budget

Gov. Herbert's proposed $11.9 billion FY2012 budget addressed $313 million structural imbalance resulting from the end of federal stimulus funds and other one-time sources of revenue primarily by relying on economic growth.[18][19] The Executive Appropriations Committee cut $329 million, which is 7%, from the Governor's proposed budget.[19]

The proposed budget provided almost $3 billion public for K-12 education budget.[19] It also includes a proposed change in income tax collections for the self-employed, expected to generate $130 million.[18]

Governor Herbert said his FY 2012 budget recommendations reflected five key goals:[17]

  • Increase funding for public education
  • Protect critical functions
  • Reduce the structural imbalance
  • Retain a responsible balance in the budget reserve accounts
  • Balance the budget without tax increases

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.[20] As noted below, Utah's spending transparency website was launched in May 2009.[21]

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

Although this database does not list information about Utah's contracts, that information has been made available here.

See also: Evaluation of Utah state website

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois created a multi-measure transparency profile for Utah, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations. These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.[22][23]

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.[24][25]

U.S. PIRG "Following the Money" report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[26] According to the report, Utah received a grade of B- and a numerical score of 82, indicating that Utah was an "advancing" state in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[26]

Budget background

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 is 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 are debated and the Legislature as a whole passes them the bills are signed by the Governor.[27]

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.[28]

John Nixon is Executive Director of the Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB). The Budget section under the direction of Phillip Jeffery, provides 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.[29][30]

Accounting principles

See also: Utah government accounting principles

The Utah State Auditor is responsible for state and local audits. The Financial Audit Division is 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 are available online.[31]

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).[32]

Credit Ratings

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Utah AAA Aaa AAA[33]


Utah received $2.09 billion in federal stimulus funding between February of 2009 and June of 2013.[34]

Public Employees

See also: Utah public employee salaries and Utah public pensions

According to 2011 Census data, the state of Utah employed a total of 70,256 people.[35] Of those employees, 44,529 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $197.6 million per month and 25,727 were part-time employees paid $29.0 million per month.[35]

External links

Additional reading


  1. The Daily Herald "Mostly quiet Legislative session concludes March 9, 2012
  2. The Salt Lake Tribune "Budget grows as state shakes off recession" March 9, 2012
  3. Businessweek "Utah governor unveils $12.9B budget proposal" Dec. 12, 2011
  4. National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting" April 2011
  5. Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  6. State Budget Solutions “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  7. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  8. Yahoo, The Best- and Worst-Run States in America, Nov. 27, 2012
  9. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  10. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  11. FY2014 Budget Recommendation Book
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Desert News "Education gets top priority in Gov. Gary Herbert's $12.8 billion budget plan" Dec. 12, 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Daily Herald "State budget done, cuts not as deep as once expected" March 11, 2011
  14. Washington Examiner "Utah budget mostly flat, won't tap reserves" March 5, 2011
  15. KCPW.org "Higher Ed, Parks Lose Funding in Latest Budget Plan" March 8, 2011
  16. The Salt Lake Tribune "Utah’s Medicaid not the budget-buster you might think" Aug. 24, 2011
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Governor's Office of Planning and Budget
  18. 18.0 18.1 The Deseret News "2011 Legislature: Budget, immigration biggest legislative issues" Jan. 23, 2011
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 The Deseret News "Utah legislative leaders slash 7 percent from state budget" Jan. 25, 2011
  20. State of Utah, "Performance Elevated," accessed April 7, 2009
  21. Transparent Utah. Accessed September 18, 2013
  22. Institute of Government and Public Affairs
  23. University of Illinois Transparency Profile for Utah
  24. [ University of Illinois 50 State Transparency Comparison
  25. University of Illinois State Transparency Profiles
  26. 26.0 26.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  27. Governor's Office of Planning and Budget,"Budget Process," accessed April 7,2009
  28. National Association of Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States," 2008
  29. Governor's Office of Planning and Budget
  30. Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget Web site, retrieved November 16, 2009
  31. Utah Office of the State Auditor Web site, retrieved November 16, 2009
  32. Utah State Department of Administrative Services Web site, retrieved November 16, 2009
  33. Pew Stateline Infographic on State Credit Ratings. Accessed September 18, 2013
  34. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  35. 35.0 35.1 2011 Utah Public Employment U.S. Census Data