SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary R. Herbert released his budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2011, holding true to his pledge not to raise taxes while protecting public and higher education and funding critical state needs.
The $11.3 billion FY2011 budget keeps funding for public and higher education at current funding levels, while funding vital public safety, health and human service needs.
At a Friday news conference at the Utah State Capitol, Governor Herbert called his budget recommendations a result of “extensive personal deliberation” and collaboration between state agency directors, public and higher education officials, and members of the Utah Legislature. “This budget offers a reasonable method for balancing the budget through a mixture of resources available to us, such as additional reduction of agency expenditures, careful use of the Rainy Day Fund, and some bonding for road projects.”
The Governor’s recommendations address a $693 million shortfall, which is spread throughout fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The budget gap is based on an additional $157 million revenue shortfall for Fiscal Year 2010, plus an additional $510 million in funding for public and higher education, and other state agencies needs.
The proposal released Friday bridges the gap through a balanced approach that presents no tax increases, spares public and higher education from additional cuts and meets the state’s most critical needs without compromising the delivery of services.
“This is a budget that protects Utah taxpayers and businesses from tax increases at a time when they can ill afford them,” Governor Herbert said Friday.
Also on Friday, the Governor outlined his plan to address the state’s FY2010 shortfall. He signed an executive order that reduces all state agency budgets, as well as higher education, to reduce budgets by 3%. The order is effective through June 30, 2010.
State agency leaders have flexibility in reaching the mandated reduction amount. Possible saving mechanisms could include state employee furloughs and use of non-lapsing balances.
The Governor’s recommendations are built upon a long-term economic plan, based on the stabilization of economic indicators and signs of an emerging economic recovery.
“As we look forward, I believe there is a growing sense of hope and optimism, which I share,” he said.
Governor Herbert’s entire budget recommendations are available online at <a href="http://www.governor.utah.gov/budget">www.governor.utah.gov/budget</a>.