(KUTV) -- Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced his $19 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday, which included a sales tax shift, bonus to Utah teachers and $20 million earmark for Utah's first state forest at Tabby Mountain.
His proposal is $2.2 billion more than last year, partly as a result of Medicaid expansion and one-time federal funding. Still, budget officials expect people to pay less in sales tax, hoping to tax more services and then reduce the overall rate.
Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, issued the following statement regarding Herbert’s budget:
Utah’s economy is the envy of the nation and the result of fiscal discipline, smart management and forward-thinking decision-making. Throughout our history, we have continually faced challenges and seized opportunities for progress. As our successes multiplied, so did our growth. And now, as the fastest growing state in the nation, with a population that’s expected to double in the next 50 years, it is critical that we be focused on addressing Utah’s growth in a more holistic way.
An overview of the governor's budget proposal is available below:
Details of the budget overview include:
- Medicaid expansion brings in about $1 billion more to the state ($135 million through voter-approved increased sales tax, then the rest is federal funds)
- Services would be taxed to increase the tax base as Utah shifts to a service-based economy, then the overall rate would be lowered
- $200 million in tax cuts through lower sales tax
- Goal to lower the current 4.85 percent state sales tax to under 4 percent
- $100 million to improve air quality
- $50 million to adopt modern water technology, such as smart meters
- $30 million for one-time teacher bonuses, which equates to approximately $1,000 per teacher but may be merit-based
- $50 million one-time endowment to fund scholarships in perpetuity for disadvantaged students
- $6 million for arts grants (with multi-year funding for nonprofits, rather than a single year)
- $28 million for services for people with disabilities
- $20 million to buy land at Tabby Mountain in Duchesne County to establish Utah's first state forest
Herbert's proposal is a starting point between his office and the state Legislature. Utah's lawmakers create the final state budget, but Herbert has veto power of any budget.
Proposed allocations may also change in Herbert's budget depending on Congressional earmarks.