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Coronavirus and economic concerns have lawmakers considering 'rainy day' money

Tax cut still possible, GOP leaders say
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Posted at 8:43 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 23:16:19-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The coronavirus and fears of a market downturn have Republican leaders on Utah's Capitol Hill contemplating putting more money in the state's rainy day funds.

House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, told reporters on Wednesday that the coronavirus and manufacturing downturns have prompted lawmakers to beef up rainy day funds in anticipation of a change in the state's economy.

"I think we should all be concerned about it, to what extent it’s hard to know yet. We’re just praying for those folks and… there’s no doubt this is disruptive and will continue to be. Look at the markets in Asia," Speaker Wilson said. "We’re in an interdependent economy, more than we’ve ever been."

So lawmakers will pump millions into "working rainy day funds" including $57 million in case more people seek Medicaid and another $25 million to fight wildfires and possibly creating another education rainy day fund. Lawmakers are contemplating taking $100 million from a higher ed fund and shifting it toward other budgetary demands.

But lawmakers still want to find a way to make a tax cut happen, though neither the Speaker nor Senate President J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, would commit to it.

"We'll assess that. Tax cuts are still on the table," the Senate President said.