Utah legislators will have $338 million extra for the next state budget, Gov. Gary Herbert said Monday.
Herbert said he was in agreement with House and Senate leaders about a new set of budget figures to use for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
Tax revenue is expected to increase by 3.8 percent during fiscal year 2014-2015, according to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, and the Utah Tax Commission.
“My number one priority continues to be growing Utah’s economy,” Herbert said Monday in a statement with legislative leaders.
“The latest revenue figures are encouraging because they demonstrate this focus is working,” the governor said. “We must continue to be careful with investing every dollar wisely to increase job growth, improve education and sustain our high quality of life.”
Utah doesn’t have to spend all the money it takes in, House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart hinted. The next state budget is expected to total around $13 billion.
“A cautious approach to budgeting and an aggressive approach to building Utah’s economy will keep us moving forward,” she said.
Utah is a “spot of calm” amid national uncertainty, said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser.
He added, “We’re thankful that our economy continues to grow, especially given some uncertainty beyond our borders. The prosperity we enjoy is a result of careful stewardship, limited government, conservative tax policy and the work ethic of Utah citizens.”
The governor’s aides say it will take an extra $60 million in spending just to keep up with enrollment growth in public schools. Another 10,300 students are expected in the system next year, education officials said.
Budget aides say Herbert won’t recommend imposing any new taxes or taking on additional debt for road or building projects.
The $338 million in extra funding includes $206 million in projected tax revenue growth during the next fiscal year, plus $132 million in surplus carry-over funds from the current fiscal year.