Budget, immigrant education bills concern Sen. Hillyard

Tuesday is the day the Utah Legislature receives the updated revenue projections it has been waiting for in order to balance the budget. State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, is co-chairman of the executive appropriations committee. He says he believes that revenues will be up over last year’s but, unfortunately, not by as much as had been hoped for.”We actually need $100 million to fill the gap between the one-time money we put in our budgets this year, which was $312 million, to match what our already growth of $215 million,” Hillyard says. “If we had another $100 million then we could at least fund the one time money that we put in last year’s budget. That would not leave any money for any growth in any of the programs.”Hillyard says he is nervous about gasoline prices going up because that could really hurt revenue projections. However, he says that may be such a late event that it won’t be factored into the report to be received Tuesday.Hillyard says he is not only concerned about budget projections, but also about some immigration bills being debated at the Utah State Capitol.A Utah House Committee has passed a bill to repeal in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Representative Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, says the measure passed Friday would eliminate an exemption allowing illegal immigrants who attend at least three years of high school in Utah to pay in-state college tuition. It now moves to the full House for debate.If the bill goes to the Utah Senate, it will not get the vote of Sen. Hillyard. He says he would much rather see these young people going to school than out on the streets looking for a job.”People I’ve talked to were brought here when they were small children,” Hillyard continues. “They don’t speak Spanish. They don’t have any ties to Mexico back where their parents came from. They’re probably as much American in the aspects as their lifestyle and everything they do as those who were born here native. “I think if you’ve got children who have nothing to do with their circumstances, they want to get an education, and can fit in, they pay residence tuition or sometimes a fee and they sometimes get in free. No, they pay like any other Utah citizen that can get into school.”Hillyard says that there are only about 600 students who would be affected by the bill and he does not think it would be worth the fight. He says it could make a difference in how these people feel about America if and when they go back to their own country.

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