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Update from Capitol Hill
by Rep. Garn and Rep. Dee
Jan 29, 2009 | 821 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Rep. Kevin Garn
Greetings from Capitol Hill where the 2009 Utah Legislative session is now underway. This year there seems to be a renewed focus among legislators as we gather to tackle some of the toughest challenges our state has faced in years. Paramount among these issues is the state economy and budgeting. Due to the economic downturn tax revenues have decreased significantly and Utah’s Legislature must make tough budget decisions to make sure we are not spending more than what comes in. It costs the state roughly $450 million to run all the various government programs from public education to the court system. However, the state is bringing in only about $380 million in revenue each month. When you do that math, it becomes clear that the state will run out of money before the end of the fiscal year. The longer this discrepancy between expenses and revenues continues the larger the deficit grows and the harder it will be to fix.

We must act quickly to adjust the 2009 fiscal year budget that ends July 1st to avoid going into the red. Our budget work also requires that we also carefully consider the 2010 budget we must draft as well. We are facing a time of ever growing need and uncertain future revenues. It is critical that we construct sound budgets that reflect accurately our financial outlook. As we tackle these budget issues we are considering many options: new revenue sources, shrinking government spending, borrowing money by bonding for targeted infrastructure projects that in the past have shown a tendency to boost the economy and finally the option of utilizing the rainy day fund that was wisely set aside in the past. In short every option is on the table.

Our overriding concern as we make the difficult, but necessary budget cuts will be to protect the classroom and programs that receive matching federal funds. Rest assured that as we proceed, every dollar will be thoroughly examine d before it is spent so that it does the greatest possible good for the greatest number of people. As always we encourage your input in this process.

Rep. Kevin Garn represents House District 16 and currently serves as the House Majority Leader. Rep. Brad Dee represents House District 11 and currently serves as the House Majority Whip.

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