Maintaining Utah’s competitive edge and quality of life requires the state to proactively manage and address the multiple demands being placed on limited resources—the taxpayer dollar. Utah’s growing and changing population and new dynamics in its revenue streams place an increased demand on everything from infrastructure to education and from natural resources to corrections.
In Utah, there are six key elements that drive approximately 80 percent of expenditures: public education, higher education, infrastructure, medicaid, corrections and employee compensation and liabilities.
The State of Utah’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The fiscal year is commonly referred to using the latter of the two calendar years. For example, fiscal year 2017-18 is sometimes referred to as fiscal year 2018 or FY 2018. A timeline for the typical budget process is available at this link.
The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Utah State Tax Commission gather and analyze revenue collection data on a monthly basis. The Monthly State Revenue Snapshot, which summarizes state revenue collections, can be found at the link below.
In November of each year, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Utah State Tax Commission revise the state’s revenue forecast and develop a new consensus revenue forecast for the upcoming fiscal year. The Governor’s budget recommendations are based on this forecast.
Each year, officials from public education, higher education and state agencies submit two items to GOMB: planned expenditures for their base budget and budget change requests. Common budget requests include costs associated with population growth, inflationary increases and federal mandates.
Before a budget request is fulfilled, the requesting entity must first demonstrate that it is achieving or in the process of achieving operational excellence, which is when entities maximize their current capacity and resources. To help agencies achieve operational excellence, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget has implemented the SUCCESS Framework.
To enact law, including a budget bill, the Legislature must pass an identical bill in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Utah is unique in that the Appropriations Committee is comprised of the entire Legislature. The Appropriations Committee is divided into joint House and Senate appropriations subcommittees by topic, such as Public Education, Higher Education, Social Services, etc. After the LFA receives the Governor’s budget recommendations, it analyzes the recommendations and prepares its own recommendations for the Legislature and its appropriation subcommittees.
The appropriation subcommittees analyze the budgets within their assigned topic area and submit their final recommendations to the Executive Appropriations Committee (EAC). The Executive Appropriations Committee receives the recommendations from the joint appropriations subcommittees, makes final budgetary decisions to balance the budget and directs the LFA to prepare appropriations bills. The appropriations bills are debated and the House of Representatives and the Senate pass the budget bills.
The LFA prepares an appropriations report annually that summarizes the actual enacted budget.
Budget Enactment & Implementation
After the Legislature passes the budget bills, the Governor decides whether or not to sign the bills. Once a bill is signed by the Governor, it goes into effect on the date specified in the bill. State agencies use the funding provided to them in the budget to carry out their responsibilities. Details on agency budgets, missions and programs are available in the LFAs Compendium of Budget Information (COBI), which can be accessed here.