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2023 Session - Budget Recap

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During the 2023 General Session, we worked to balance the state’s $29 billion budget, the largest budget in Utah’s history. This year’s extraordinary budget provided a generational opportunity for our state to invest in education, social services, water, housing, transportation, infrastructure, and cut taxes for the third consecutive year.


Utah has a history of coming together to tackle challenges and listening to input from constituents and stakeholders to identify and find the best policy to address the challenges facing our state. We spend long hours thoroughly reviewing and figuring out how to allocate funds to protect and assist Utahns, families and businesses.

Budget

Utah’s economy is in a strong position, ranking as the best state for economic outlook for 15 years in a row. However, the country is experiencing increased risks and volatility, with predictions of economic slowdowns. During the 2023 General Session, we were tasked with balancing and appropriating $29 billion.


Utah is the best-prepared state in the nation for economic uncertainties. We are committed to ensuring Utah continues to be well-prepared for current and future needs by making strategic investments and wise budget decisions.

Tax Cuts

Over the past two years, the Utah Legislature has reduced taxes by nearly $300 million. To continue Utah’s commitment to reducing taxes and cultivating a family and business-friendly environment, the Legislature provided $850 million in tax relief for Utahns during the 2023 General Session.

The Legislature provided $850 million in tax relief:

  • Reduced all Utahns' income tax rate from 4.85% to 4.65%. A $380 million reduction in taxes. (H.B. 54)

  • Expanded social security tax credit eligibility to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year. A $22.7 million reduction in taxes. (H.B. 54)

  • Provided a tax benefit for pregnant women and for children one to three years old by allowing a double dependent exemption. A $13.1 million reduction in taxes. (H.B. 54 & H.B. 170)

  • Increased the earned income tax credit (EITC) from 15% to 20%. A $1.2 million reduction in taxes. (H.B. 54)

  • Removed the state portion of sales tax on food contingent on voters' approval to remove the constitutional earmark for income tax revenue during the 2024 general election. A $211 million reduction in taxes. (H.B. 54)

  • Lowered the state tax on gas by two cents per gallon. A $32.7 million reduction in 2024. (H.B. 301)

  • Maintained the decreases of the basic property tax levy freeze, preventing a $146 million future property tax increase. In FY 2024, the basic property tax levy will decrease from .001661% to .001356%. (H.B. 293)

  • Provided a low-income housing tax credit for Utahns. A $51 million reduction. (H.B. 364)

  • Enacted an income tax credit for expenses related to the adoption of a child. A $2.6 million tax credit. (H.B. 130)

Water Conservation

In Utah, it’s imperative that we conserve water. In the past two years, we have allocated nearly a billion dollars for water conservation efforts and development, further mitigating Utah’s ongoing water issues and planning for future growth. We passed several bills and allocated $500 million to address the diverse statewide water needs.

Budget Highlights for Water Conservation:

  • $200 million – Agricultural Water Optimization

  • $50 million – Water Reuse Reservoir and Desalination (S.B. 277)

  • $50 million – Wasatch Front Aqueduct Resilience

  • $30 million – Water Infrastructure Projects

  • $25 million – Agricultural Water Optimization Loans for Matching Requirements

  • $25 million – Dam Safety Upgrades

  • $15 million – Secondary Water Meters

  • $12.73 million – State Match for Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund

  • $10 million (one-time) and $2.5 million (ongoing) – Amendments Related to the Great Salt Lake (H.B. 491)

  • $5 million (ongoing) and $7 million (one-time) – Cloud Seeding Program

  • $8 million – Air and Water Innovation Grant

  • $449,000 (ongoing) and $5 million (one-time) – Water Distribution and Measurement Automation

  • $5 million – Utah Lake Improvements

  • $4.4 million – Dam Safety Upgrades

  • $2 million (one-time) $1 million (ongoing) – Utah Water Ways (H.B. 307)

  • $1.8 million – Digital Lakebed Topography of Great Salt Lake and Bear Lake

Education

Funding education has been and will continue to be a top priority for the Utah Legislature. The Legislature passed significant funding for education during the 2023 General Session.

This year, the Legislature appropriated $15 billion to public education and education programs, more than half of the state budget, and increased the WPU by 13% in ongoing funds and 18.5% in one-time funds.

The funding included teacher salary raises, all-day kindergarten, educator preparation and collaboration, school safety, teen centers and online education programs.

Budget Highlights for Public Education:

  • $440.6 million – Public Education Stabilization Account Available

  • $239 million – Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Opportunities (H.B. 215)

  • $236 million – 6% WPU increase (includes base budget increase of $132 million)

  • $92 million – Permanent State School Fund

  • $64 million – Educator Preparation and Collaboration Time

  • $50 million – Small School Critical Capital Needs Fund

  • $30 million – Flexible Funding WPU Distribution to 4th-6th Class County Schools

  • $25 million (ongoing) and $586,500 (one-time) – At-Risk Students WPU Weighting Increase

  • $17.9 million (ongoing) and $16.5 million (one-time) – Educator Salary Amendments (S.B. 183)

Budget Highlights for Education Programs:

  • $75 million – Flexible School Safety, Physical Facility, & Capital Needs

  • $64 million – Educator Preparation and Collaboration Time

  • $25 million – Optional Full-day Kindergarten Expansion

  • $15 million – Teen Centers for Students Experiencing Homelessness

  • $7.1 million – Grow Your Own Teacher and Counselor Pipeline

  • $6 million – Pupil Transportation

  • $1.69 million – Statewide Online Education Program Amendments - (S.B. 45)

  • $1.2 million – First Lady's initiative to “Show Up for Teachers”

Affordable Housing & Homelessness

Utah’s thriving economy is something we are proud of. However, rapid growth rates in the state have contributed to a shortage of affordable housing. This year, over $200 million has been appropriated for various housing affordability programs.

Budget Highlights for Housing:

  • $51 million – Utah Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

  • $50 million – First-time Homebuyer Program (S.B. 240)

  • $50 million – Deeply Affordable Housing

  • $15 million – Teen Centers for Students Experiencing Homelessness

  • $12 million – Homeless Services Dedicated Funding

  • $10 million – Utah Housing Preservation Fund

  • $7 million – Box Elder Crisis Shelter and Transitional Housing

  • $5 million – Attainable Housing Grants

  • $5 million – Shared Equity Revolving Loan Fund

  • $4 million – Affordable Housing Technical Assistance

  • $2.75 million – Rural Single-Family Home Land Revolving Loan Program

  • $1 million – Critical Home Repair Program

  • $500,000 – Veterans First-time Homebuyer Program

Infrastructure & Transportation

Utah is the fastest-growing state in the nation, and to keep up with our state's rapid growth, it's imperative that we expand and improve our transportation systems. This session, we allocated $2.1 billion toward infrastructure and transportation improvements.

Budget Highlights for Infrastructure/Transportation:

  • $800 million – UDOT Transportation Enhancements

  • $775 million – High-risk debt reduction

  • $200 million – Commuter Rail Improvements

  • $150 million – Cottonwood Canyons Transportation

  • $108 million – The Point of the Mountain

  • $88.5 million – Highway 191 Safety Improvements

  • $40 million – Rural B & C Roads (S.B. 175)

  • $20 million – Wildlife Highway Mitigation

  • $14 million – U-111 Connector Transportation Enhancements

  • $6.9 million – County of the First-Class Highway Fund

The Beehive State is proof that, with responsible planning and fiscally conservative policies, states can provide economic stability and excel even through the most difficult circumstances.

Kind regards,

Senator Ron Winterton Utah Senate District 20



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