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New numbers show Utah has $1.5 billion extra

Posted at 6:06 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 20:28:05-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers didn't sing "We're in the Money" as they walked into a news conference to announce new revenue projections, but they could have.

An announcement from senators, representatives and the governor's office showed the state is bringing in $427 million more than they expected.

One more thing: they already expected about $1.1 billion extra dollars to spend during the legislative session. If you left your calculator in the car, that adds up to $1.5 billion extra dollars to spend.

But Sen. Jerry Stevenson, a Republican from Layton who chairs the Appropriations Committee, responsible for the state budget, says the good news comes with headaches.

"What it means for the budget is we really have a lot of work cut out for us in the next few weeks," Stevenson said.

Lawmakers have requested twice as much money as they have to spend.

It's always the case the state leaves proposals unfunded. By law, they have to balance the budget.

This year, the governor and Republican legislative leaders have already committed much of the money.

They've promised a $400 million increase in education funding, money to pay for increased demand for Medicaid due to pandemic job losses, and some form of tax cut or cuts most likely targeted to retirees and middle to low-income parents.