SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers are settling on how to spend your tax dollars, approving spending projects as part of the state’s multi-billion dollar budget.
At a meeting of the Utah State Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee on Friday, lawmakers released their list of funding items. It includes a $120 million boost for public education, millions for new buildings on college campuses and 2% pay raises for state employees.
The budget shows lawmakers will get $1 million back that went to fund the Outdoor Retailer show (that announced it’s leaving Utah over lawmakers’ public lands stances). $3 million in ongoing funding will be spent for tourism marketing in Utah. Lawmakers also agreed to fund a wide variety of community events like the Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market, the Freedom Festival in Provo, the Cache Valley Center for the Arts, and a golf tournament.
Lawmakers are anticipating about $2 million in money coming in from a hike in liquor prices under a bill making its way through the legislature that tears down “Zion Curtains.”
Lawmakers plan to spend $1.2 million to pay for a bill mandating the state test every rape kit collected by police. $500,000 has been funded to the Utah Attorney General’s Office to sue over the Gold King Mine that impacted rivers in southeastern Utah. $50,000 has been budgeted in the Governor’s Office for “anti-pornography initiatives.”
Lawmakers will finalize the budget next week. The legislature is discussing tax restructuring, which includes changes to the food tax, income tax, and other taxes. The Utah State Legislature ends March 9.