For Immediate Release
February 22, 2019
Public Information Officer
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State Leaders Release Revised Revenue Numbers
SALT LAKE CITY (2/22/19) – Utah’s consensus revenue numbers were released today in cooperation with leaders from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, Senate, House of Representatives and Utah State Tax Commission.
In December, the legislature adopted new revenue estimates that offered $646 million one-time and $675 million in new ongoing money – the widely-reported “$1.3 billion surplus.”
The new consensus estimates provide $570 million in new ongoing money and $529 million in one-time funding.
The revenue estimates, though still positive, are $117 million less in one-time money and $105 million less in ongoing funding based on December projections. The federal tax reform affected projection models, which indicated faster than usual growth due to accelerated tax payments for the prior year and the first half of this year.
Economists agree these revisions have to do with the timing of tax payments and not with the underlying economy. Collections are now beginning to return to a regular pattern, though they’re lower than anticipated.
The last time the state had a similar budget was before the recession in 2008. Though there is a surplus, of which a majority is required by state statute to go to education funding, it is prudent to plan for the future in the event of a possible downturn.
When balancing Utah’s budget, the legislature must be fiscally responsible, base decisions on forecasted numbers and review previous budget cycles. With the smaller than anticipated surplus, the legislature will need to determine how to best fund critical items including public education enrollment growth, increase in the weighted pupil unit, upgrade school facilities, transportation projects to accommodate a growing population and social service programs.
Quote: Gov. Gary Herbert
“Even though revenue numbers are less than expected, our economy is growing; it’s just by how much,” said Senate President Stuart Adams. “Utah’s economy is still vibrant – ranking the top in the nation for job creation, and our unemployment rate is low. As we finalize the budget, we will continue to judiciously manage revenues and expenditures to ensure we are fiscally responsible.”
“The most recent revenue numbers make it clear we still have a strong economy and bright future,” said Speaker Brad Wilson. “Volatility in these sources, however, underscore that we need to be cautious. Disparity in the growth of our education fund and the growth in the general fund show we have to fix our revenue problem or our ability to fund critical issues like social services, public safety, and infrastructure will be in jeopardy.”