By Lyle Hillyard
Utah State Senator, District 25
While we all hold our breath awaiting the daily economic reports, the news we are receiving from Utah sources appear good.
It is not that we will have tons of new money – we won’t – but after the last few years, there is cause for a little celebration if there is no drop in funds and no resultant budget cuts.
We have found the money to correct the error discovered by the State Board of Education that they had not counted over 8,000 new students. It will cost us an additional $25 M to keep our commitment to fund growth this year. I am convinced it was a good faith error and the Board has taken steps so it will never happen again.
This funding fix carries with it some concerns: The funds we found to repair the mistake are only one-time money but the schools plan to use the money for on-going needs. If there is not enough new on-going funding for next year’s budget, it will be a problem. Also the money we are using was planned for other important things, so if we can’t replace the one-time money we have moved within public education funding, those projects will suffer.
I am currently – cautiously – predicting that we will end up this year with a revenue increase around $50 M. That will be enough to replace the funds we shifted and provide ongoing funding to cover the mistake made by the State Board. Maybe we’ll have some money for buildings. Needed construction projects are one of the best ways to use one-time money.
As I always say, it is better having the revenues appear up than down but even if they are up, there will never be enough for all the worthy requests.
Employment chart (above) from The City Café. Pie chart re: FY 2013 revenue sources is from the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst.