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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

$$$$ Projections and House Bill One

How much have we already spent on education this year?

When House Bill One passes next week (if it passes) how much will be left over to spend or send back to the taxpayers? Lyle Hillyard, Senate Chair of Executive Appropriations, took a minute out of his schedule today to explain where we are.

Open this spreadsheet in a new window, then click here to listen to the MP3 (or visit the Senate Radio page).

2 Comments:

Anonymous Marie said...

Thanks for the explanation.

What I don't understand about the "surplus": Why is there so much concern about funding education when you show that by law there will have to be nearly $3 billion spent for on-going education projects and another $5.5 million for one-time spending? Or is this money available for a tax refund to those who paid the income tax? How is the "surplus" figured, if there is $676 million for on-going and $760 for one-time. Is this amount combined the expected "surplus"? So are people fighting over spending this "surplus" on education even after education is already given $8.5billion?

I also don't understand if there is such a large "surplus" why roads/transportation aren't being funded through that while the discussion goes on about increasing gas tax instead. That doesn't make sense. I also don't understand why medicaid is a part of the budget bill, but roads/transportation are not. Is the medicaid addressed due to federal requirements?

Will there be a change to the cap of the rainy day limit? If there isn't to be a tax refund with the "surplus" like other states have done, it seems more prudent that rather than increase spending on existing programs or adding more programs, that we put the money into a rainy day fund, thus saving citizens from future tax increases during "difficult times".

1/18/2007 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Lyle Hillyard said...

Thank you for your comment and questions, Marie. I hope I can help answer a few of them.

You asked . . . Why is there so much concern about funding education when you show that by law there will have to be nearly $3 billion spent for on-going education projects and another $5.5 million for one-time spending?

Yes, education will be funded for AT LEAST $3 billion. That $3 billion is the basic operating cost that comes from the states $10 billion budget. It is not subtracted from the $1.565 billion surplus. The $1.565 billion surplus is additional money the state collected throughout the year that is not included in the states $10 billion yearly budget.

I am not sure what you are referring to for the $5.5 million of one time money. However, it is possible that some one-time money will go towards funding education at an amount that has not yet been determined. Typically, one-time funds are best invested in one-time expenses such as buildings, paying down debts, etc…


Or is this money available for a tax refund to those who paid the income tax?

Yes, the entire surplus of $1.565 billion is all available for a refund. I am sure Utah taxpayers can expect to see a refund this year although the size and exactly where that cut is made have not been decided.


How is the "surplus" figured, if there is $676 million for on-going and $760 for one-time? Is this amount combined the expected "surplus"?

Yes, when we refer to this year’s surplus we are referring to $676 on-going million plus $760 million one-time.


So are people fighting over spending this "surplus" on education even after education is already given $8.5 billion?

As noted above, education will receive about $3 billion from the budget. As for an increase, we are funding and additional $72.8 million (from the $1.565 billion surplus) to account for the growth in public education over the last year. We have not yet reached any decisions on how much additional of the remaining surplus will go towards additional funding toward education but I am sure they will see a significant increase this year.


I also don't understand if there is such a large "surplus" why roads/transportation aren't being funded through that while the discussion goes on about increasing gas tax instead?

Raising the gas tax doesn’t have much traction in the legislature. Also, all state programs that were funded last year including transportation, are funded again through the base budget or HB1. In other words, the base budget of about $10 billion will fund every program in the state at the rate it was funded the previous year. The debate from now on will be how to spend the additional $1.565 billion surplus. I am sure transportation will also receive a portion of that surplus.


I also don't understand why Medicaid is a part of the budget bill, but roads/transportation are not. Is the Medicaid addressed due to federal requirements?

Transportation is certainly a part of the budget. You do not see it directly on the sheet I posted earlier, like Medicaid, however. We do receive a federal match for Medicaid.


Will there be a change to the cap of the rainy day limit?

I am not sure if the limit will change or not. If it does, it will be because we decided to put more money into it. The process of changing the limit is very simple and easily done.

Thank you for being so interested, Marie. I hope this helps.

1/19/2007 7:54 PM  

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