Utah’s Budget Process

Maintaining Utah's competitive edge and quality of life requires the state to proactively manage and address the multiple demands being placed on limited resources⁠—the taxpayer dollar. Utah's growing and changing population and new dynamics in its revenue streams place an increased demand on everything from infrastructure to education and from natural resources to corrections.


METHODOLOGY

The State of Utah’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The fiscal year is commonly referred to using the latter of the two calendar years. For example, fiscal year 2020-21 is sometimes referred to as fiscal year 2021 or FY 2021. A timeline for the typical budget process is available at this link


REVENUE COLLECTIONS

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA) , and the Utah State Tax Commission gather and analyze revenue collection data on a monthly basis. The Monthly State Revenue Snapshot, which summarizes state revenue collections, can be found at the link below.


REVENUE FORECAST

In November of each year, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Utah State Tax Commission revise the state’s revenue forecast and develop a new consensus revenue forecast for the upcoming fiscal year. The Governor’s budget recommendations are based on this forecast.


BUDGET PREPARATION

Each year, officials from public education, higher education, and state agencies submit two items to GOPB: planned expenditures for their base budget and budget change requests. Common budget requests include costs associated with population growth, inflationary increases, and federal mandates. GOPB works with agencies to develop budget proposals that drive the best investment and use of Utah's resources.

After analyzing anticipated revenues, base budgets, and new budget requests, GOPB assists the Governor in preparing final budget recommendations.  The Governor’s budget recommendations are summarized in the Governor’s Budget Recommendation Book. The Governor delivers his budget message and transmits his budget recommendations to the Legislature through the Legislature’s staff budget office, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst (LFA).


BUDGET APPROVAL AND ADOPTION

Thirty days prior to each general legislative session, the LFA, by statute, receives the Governor's budget recommendations. The LFA is required to review this executive budget before the Legislature convenes and to make recommendations and comments to the Legislature on each item or program.

To enact law, including a budget bill, the Legislature must pass an identical bill in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Utah is unique in that the Appropriations Committee is comprised of the entire Legislature. The Appropriations Committee is divided into joint House and Senate appropriations subcommittees by topic, such as Public Education, Higher Education, Social Services, etc. After the LFA receives the Governor’s budget recommendations, it analyzes the recommendations and prepares its own recommendations for the Legislature and its appropriation subcommittees.

The appropriation subcommittees analyze the budgets within their assigned topic area and submit their final recommendations to the Executive Appropriations Committee (EAC). The Executive Appropriations Committee receives the recommendations from the joint appropriations subcommittees, makes final budgetary decisions to balance the budget, and directs the LFA to prepare appropriations bills. The appropriations bills are debated and the House of Representatives and the Senate pass the budget bills.

The LFA prepares an appropriations report annually that summarizes the actual enacted budget.


Budget Implementation and Execution

After the Legislature passes the budget bills, the Governor decides whether or not to sign the bills. Once a bill is signed by the Governor, it goes into effect on the date specified in the bill. State agencies use the funding provided to them in the budget to carry out their responsibilities. Details on agency budgets, missions, and programs are available in the LFAs Compendium of Budget Information (COBI), which can be accessed here.