Executive Appropriation Committee recommends Utah state budget

The Executive Appropriations Committee (EAC) made final recommendations for the fiscal year 2022-23 budget. This year’s recommendations include record-level funding for education and social services, a generational opportunity to fund water and infrastructure, and a significant tax cut for the second consecutive year.

“Strategic and prudent planning is the Utah way,” said President J. Stuart Adams. “Our frugal budgeting paved the way for our state to cut taxes for the second year in a row and fund priority budget items like education, infrastructure, water conservation and social service programs at substantial levels. Not only are we funding these items, but we are also saving money to ensure our children and grandchildren have the same or better quality of life than we enjoy. While Utah is in a strong financial position, we will continue to make fiscally conservative decisions to ensure we remain an economic leader for our nation.”

In fiscal year 2023, the Legislature increased the education budget by $383 million in ongoing revenue, a 9% increase.

“Getting the greatest return for every taxpayer dollar is always our goal and never an easy endeavor,” said Speaker Brad Wilson. “From the beginning of the session we set out to address our most significant challenges and craft a budget that not only meets state needs today but addresses our long-term challenges. I appreciate the great work done by our committee members, committee chairs, and the Executive Appropriations Committee as they crafted a budget that admirably serves the interests of all Utahns.”

The EAC budget recommendations also include $350 million to address the state’s water conservation efforts, $21 million to expand broadband access and $38 million for improved access to outdoor recreation and state parks.

“This year’s budget is the largest in our history and we have received more appropriations requests than ever before,” said Sen. Jerry Stevenson, EAC co-chair. “Careful and meticulous planning placed our state in an advantageous position to reach beyond just funding critical needs but also implement tax relief to Utahns. With record inflation, we must be wise in how we allocate our money. I am confident that as a state, we will continue to make targeted and substantial investments into Utah’s future and save for a rainy day.”

“While other states are struggling to make ends meet, Utah is in the enviable position of meeting our fundamental needs and making strategic investments to ensure a prosperous future,” said Rep. Brad Last, EAC co-chair. “The budget we have laid out will have lasting benefits for all Utahns as we invest in education, provide for critical infrastructure needs and address our growing water challenge.”

The EAC budget recommendation now advances to the full Legislature for consideration. The 2023 fiscal year begins July 1. 

Funding Highlights:

Tax Relief

  • $193 million tax cut (S.B. 59)
    • Reduce the individual and corporate income tax rate for all Utahns from 4.95% to 4.85%. A $163.7 million reduction in taxes.
    • Increased the eligibility for a social security tax credit for seniors. A $15.4 million reduction in taxes.  
    • Established an earned income tax credit. A $16.1 million reduction in taxes.  

Public Education

  • A 9% increase in the overall public education budget.
  • $124.6 million in ongoing funding for the state’s basic school formula, bringing the total increase in the value of the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) to 6%.
  • $91.5 million for development projects, including systemic earthquake upgrades to improve schools. (H.B. 475)
  • $64 million in one-time appropriations to local education agencies for additional paid professional hours for educators.
  • $10 million in one-time funds for teacher bonuses to those with extra assignments.
  • $2.3 million in one-time money to provide free menstrual hygiene products in Utah public schools.

Education Programs

  • $9.6 million ongoing and $9.4 million one-time spending for early literacy outcomes improvements to increase 3rd-grade reading scores across the state. (S.B. 127)
  • $12.2 million in ongoing funding for school districts to provide optional full-day kindergarten.
  • $4 million in one-time and $4 million in ongoing appropriations for UPSTART, an at-home kindergarten readiness program to prepare preschool-age children for kindergarten.
  • $3.2 million in one-time money for a statewide online education program.
  • $1.2 million in ongoing funding to expand the SafeUT crisis app, chat and tip line that provides real-time crisis intervention for students.

Homelessness

  • $55 million in one-time appropriations to establish the COVID-19 Homeless Housing and Services Grant Program. (S.B. 238)
  • $3.5 million in one-time money to increase teen centers for students experiencing homelessness.

Social Services

  • $15 million in one-time funding for housing preservation.
  • $24 million in ongoing appropriations and $4.9 million in one-time spending for Home and Community Based Services and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with various disabilities.
  • $6 million in ongoing and $3 million in one-time money to shorten the disabilities waiting list.
  • $5.1 million in one-time funding for Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD) caregiver compensation.
  • $3.2 million in ongoing appropriations for targeted increases to state hospital and developmental center for frontline staff.
  • $3 million in ongoing funding for equal Medicaid reimbursement rate for autism.
  • $2 million in ongoing spending for domestic violence shelter-based support services.
  • $1 million in ongoing money to the Medicaid program for children with complex medical conditions. (H.B. 200)
  • $1 million in ongoing appropriations for adult autism treatment.

Water Conservation and Fire Prevention

  • $200 million in one-time appropriations for secondary water metering. (H.B. 242)
  • $50 million in one-time money for agricultural water optimization.
  • $40 million in one-time appropriations to create a trust for Great Salt Lake preservation. (H.B. 410)
  • $37.9 million ongoing and $1.7 million one-time for the creation of a restricted account to fund outdoor recreation. (H.B. 409)
  • $30 million one-time funding for Utah Lake preservation.
  • $5.1 million one-time spending for water conservation efforts. (H.B. 121)
  • $1.5 million in ongoing appropriations for Utah Lake Authority. (H.B. 232)
  • $1.5 million in one-time funds for shared stewardship wildfire prevention.

Courts/Corrections/Juvenile Justice Services

  • $19.2 million ongoing and $13 million in one-time money for new correctional facility direct supervision model staff.
  • $15.2 million ongoing appropriations to the Corrections Certified Staff Pay Plan.
  • $3.9 million ongoing for Judicial assistant recruitment and retention.
  • $1.7 million for the Division of Juvenile Justice Services (DJJS) residential and proctor care treatment rate.

Grant Programs

  • $4.5 million ongoing and $4.5 million in one-time funding for Economic Assistance Grants.
  • $6 million in one-time money for Capital Facilities Grants.
  • $6 million in one-time revenue for Arts and Museums Grants, included in the base budget.
  • $2 millionin ongoing appropriations for Heritage and Events Grants.