SALT LAKE CITY - Governor Gary R. Herbert informed legislative leaders late today that, although unhappy with the federal government's tactics and method of delivery, he will apply for federal funding because it will benefit public education in Utah.
Governor Herbert's decision comes after meeting today with legislative leadership.
"It would be foolish for the State of Utah not to accept this funding, which will directly benefit Utah's schoolchildren," Governor Herbert said. "While I have serious concerns with the way these funds are being directed to the states, this is money that Utahns will be required to repay well into the future. Utah deserves to benefit from that obligation."
Of primary concern to the Governor is that the federal funds - which Congress appropriated through the passage of the Education Jobs Fund bill - not exacerbate the already unacceptable federal deficit. The $26 billion legislation reallocates money already appropriated to other areas, meaning no new money is being spent on the bill. Utah's portion of the funding is some $101 million.
"I am committed to fiscal responsibility, and will continue to demand it here in Utah," Governor Herbert said. "But I will not put ideology before Utah's schoolchildren."
Governor Herbert will work with the Utah Legislature to direct the funding into Utah's public education budget. A special legislative session is anticipated this fall.