Utah Governor Gary Herbert released his 2015 budget proposal today at Utah Valley University in Orem and its main focus is on increased education funding.
For the 2015 fiscal year the Governor’s office of Management and Budget projects the state will receive $338 million dollars in new money. Governor Herbert’s proposal calls for more than 75% of it to go towards education.
“Again our focus, what rallies us together, what brings us together as a state, looking not only in the short-term but in the long-term, is our goal and our vision to have 66% by 2020, improving the outcomes for post-secondary education,” he says.
Specifically, Herbert is asking for a $3.6 billion education allotment in his overall budget plan. It includes a 2.5% increase in the weighted pupil unit and more than $57 million for a new science building at Weber State University.
He is also asking for $18 million dollars for clean air related projects, the majority of which will go to converting the state fleet and school busses to compressed natural gas. Overall, Herbert calls his budget plan rational, reasonable and responsible.
“I think it finds the right balance points for those needs that we need to get and services from government, without overburdening the private sector," he says. "What we don’t want to do is do something that will kill the goose that’s laying the golden eggs. We are a healthy economy and we are growing.”
Ultimately, the proposal is just a recommendation. The legislature will work out their own plan on the state’s $13 billion dollar budget when they convene in January.