Producing a Balanced Budget and Education Funding
Of the many legislative gyrations that Utah lawmakers will go through this 2015 session, none is more critical than producing a balanced budget.
A few thousand hours have been collectively spent hearing, debating, and refining hundreds of funding requests to determine how most responsibly to spend the taxpayer’s money. You are hearing about some of the decisions in the press as we wind down the session.
We are also looking at a sizable increase for funding public education.
Below I’ve singled out a few highlights:
There are two substantial public education appropriations.
- 50 million to fund enrollment growth. This accounts for every additional student to our public education system.
- $104 million added to the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU), a 4% increase. This is the largest increase to public education since 2008.
- Higher education will receive $170 million in appropriations to fund new buildings. Among those projects is the Snow College Science building, the Huntsman Cancer Institute, the Dixie ATC Campus, the University of Utah’s Crocker Science Center, the USU Botanical Center, and the UVU Student Activity Center. While not a complete list of all the higher education funding, this showcases a major investment in higher education infrastructure.
- State employees will receive a 3% percent salary increase and Higher Education employees will receive a 2% salary increase. The Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and the Auditor will also see an increase in compensation beginning in 2016.
- The 2015 budget also includes $15.3 million in funding to carryout a major Justice Reinvestment Initiative. About two-thirds of those monies ($10.2 million) will go for a re-visioning of Adult Probation and Parole and for improving the transition and supervision of inmates leaving the incarceration path or diverted from it altogether.
- The remaining one-third ($5.1 million) will support community-based treatment using best practices for those leaving incarceration and reentering the community.
Three Quick Reminders
Thank You for this Opportunity
I’m grateful to represent this district in the Utah Legislature. Thank you for your trust. If you have any questions, please email or call.