In preparation for the release of the Governor’s budget, members of his staff gathered at the Capitol today to talk about how much money the state could and should spend in the next year.
Utah’s economy is strong say some members of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. They released a revenue forecast that shows 130 million dollars in additional one-time spending and more than 200 million dollars in ongoing revenue in the next budget cycle. But they also predict that state revenue will slightly decline in this fiscal year before growing again in the next. Juliette Tennert is the Deputy Director of that office. She says these potential shifts reflect the economic climate outside of the state.
"So uncertainty at the national level associated with things like the federal shutdown, sequestration, the implementation of the affordable care act, all these things are weighing on economic growth," Tennert says.
Eighty percent of the proposed budget would be primarily focused on funding infrastructure, compensation, Medicaid, education and corrections. Kristen Cox is the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. She says the Governor will ask for more fiscal discipline from state agencies.
"What we are looking is for every system to work with us and some of the tools we’re using to help improve their overall performance, which could be a mix of quality, you know, how good they do their job, their capacity to serve people and their costs," Cox says.
Utah House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart said in a statement that she is encouraged by the predicted overall growth in state revenue. Governor Herbert plans to release his budget next week. House and Senate members will use that plan as they draft their own budget in the upcoming legislative session.