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Friday, December 09, 2005

Big Budget Numbers

Governor Huntsman unleashed new budget numbers today.

The upshot is that Utah's economy is on fire and we will probably have several hundred million more dollars in the bank than than anyone anticipated.

You can read the governor's budget recommendation here.

Before the Oklahoma Land Rush begins we should probably insert a few words of observation and caution.

Lyle Hillyard, Senate Chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement:
We are impressed and grateful for the current success of Utah’s economy. A number of factors, including prudent state fiscal policies have resulted in a budget surplus - for which we are very thankful. It appears we will have more funds this year than anyone anticipated.

We look forward to the implementation of tax reform, including significant tax cuts, without harming infrastructure, schools, or other state priorities.

We also anticipate being able to spend more on the WPU and public education salaries.

At the same time, we recommend a cautious, deliberative approach. We understand the dynamics of boom and bust cycles. We’ve been through this before. We are acutely aware that much of the state’s new money has come from fairly volatile sources, such as severance tax, corporate finance tax, and capital gains tax.

We applaud the hard work of Governor Huntsman and his staff, particularly their emphasis on education, transportation and economic development. We appreciate his effort to take care of state employees while holding down the state FTE count.

William Sloan Coffin said, ‘It is one thing to say with the prophet Amos, 'Let justice roll down like mighty waters, and quite another to work out the irrigation system.'

Starting next Wednesday, the Utah Legislature will be working out the irrigation system. We’ll take a hard look at the numbers and craft a tax cut and budget plan that will serve the state well.

We encourage citizens to be fully informed, and actively engaged in the policy-making process.
The Utah Legislature's independent analysis of the economy and budget forecast will be adopted at next Wednesday’s Executive Appropriations Meeting. Our numbers will be similar to the Governor’s. The numbers will be updated again in mid-February.

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