Statewide Overview - Jonathan Ball
Utah's budget for fiscal year 2015 is $13.5 billion (+5.1% vs FY 14 original) from all sources. The figure below represents that total FY 15 state budget by appropriations subcommittee. The Infrastructure and General Government (IGG) subcommittee funded $106.5 million in building construction on higher education campuses and $55.5 million in higher education capital improvements; the Retirement and Independent Entities (RIE) subcommittee funded $41 million for the Utah Education Network; and the Business, Economic Development and Labor (BEDL) subcommittee funded another $22 million for USTAR. Those amounts added to the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee bring total appropriations for colleges and universities to $1.8 billion or 13%. The Legislature provided $21.5 million for STEM education in the BEDL subcommittee, which, when added to the Public Education subcommittee, brings total Public Education appropriations to more than $4 billion (30%).
Of the total amount, $5.8 billion (+5.9% vs. FY 14 original) comes from the discretionary General Fund and Education Fund. As with the all-sources budget above, adding higher education related appropriations made in other subcommittees to those in the Higher Education subcommittee brings higher ed's share of the General and Education Fund budget to $1.1 billion or 19%. Combined, then, General and Education Fund appropriations for higher and public education total $3.9 billion and constitute 66% of the General/Education Fund budget.
Utah's steadily growing economy delivered $253 million in new ongoing revenue in addition to $144 million in one-time surpluses in current and past year budgets. Legislators made public and higher education their highest priority in the 2014 General Session.
Appropriators undertook a new approach to budgeting called Base Budget Week. They held a series of back-to-back budget meetings in which they scrutinized base budgets before turning to budget increases. Base Budget Week produced nearly $70 million in savings that could be reallocated to higher priority uses.
Utah continued it's prudent fiscal management by paying cash for buildings and continuing to pay down debt. Legislators went a step further, passing three budget policy changes aimed at smoothing revenue volatility by recognizing above trend growth, considering it in rainy day deposit rules, and treating such windfalls as one-time revenue.
Utah's unique appropriations process allows all legislators to serve on an appropriations committee or subcommittee. Each legislator has an influence on the budget resulting in a richer and more informed exchange of information and ideas. Utah's eight appropriations subcommittees and it's Executive Appropriations Committee undertook myriad budget initiatives in the 2014 General Session. Those initiatives are detailed on each subcommittee's page of this Appropriations Summary. Links to each subcommittee summary are provided in the call-out box on the right hand side of this page.