We have two weeks left and the bills are flying through the process now. Here are some of the highlights.
Areas of Success:
- As reported yesterday, the new revenue estimates were released late on Wednesday and have pushed available funding for the Utah Legislature to $581 million more dollars in tax revenue than last year. This means there will be $453 million in ongoing tax revenue surplus and a $128 million in one-time tax monies, opening up the list considerably for possible areas to expend: the over $700 million in appropriation requests during the Session, public education funding, rainy-day funds, and cut to the personal income tax rate. Leadership will begin their work on Monday, giving them 11 days to accomplish a balanced budget. Although we don’t suspect that all requests will be funded, this does mean that our UAC priority of election system funding has a greater chance of getting covered.
- HB0175S03 Oversight Committee Creation is the bill that keeps coming back again and again. UAC Staff worked in conjunction with the League of Cities and Towns, the Utah Association of Special Districts, and the Utah State School Board Association to speak with every single House member to express our misgivings about the bill and the consequences of the language in the third substitute. We especially appreciate Representative Wilde and Representative Potter who spoke as former county elected officials on the unnecessary oversight this bill would create. The bill was voted down with 20 yay and 54 nay votes. Big victory!
Areas of Improvement:
- UAC Legislative Committee discussed at length HB224S03 County Government Change Election Amendments and the impact it would have on future county government changes and existing county governments. In the end, the group voted to work to have this bill be referred to the interim where UAC can be involved in a lengthier discussion.
Work in Progress:
- Senator Harper’s SB136 Transporation Governance Amendments (also known as the Transportation omnibus bill) was substituted on the floor and at 190 pages, it is no small task to review but we definitely need your direction. Please review over the weekend and get any comments back to staff.
- Representative Stratton asked to bring back HB0175S03 Oversight Committee Creation on Thursday and it is now circled on the 3rd Reading Calendar. We will be looking closely to see how this continues to affect local government and other loacl entities (special districts, school districts, etc).
- SB0215 Boundary Line Adjustment Amendments is a bill that the Recorders have expressed significant concern about implications to their responsibilities. However, the committee referred this bill to the interim and Senator Christensen has committed to working with Recorders on the bill. We appreciate his willingness to include the counties in the direction of the bill.
What a week! Almost there!