SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers unanimously approved a budget proposal that would plug an estimated $850 million state revenue shortfall following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House and Senate passed two bills during a special session Thursday that would impose less than 2% cuts across state government agencies while increasing spending for education and social services such as mental health care, affordable housing and Medicaid growth.
“We’ve tried to surgically go through all the budgets and tried to be fair and take care of the things that are essential to the state of Utah,” said Republican Sen. Jerry Stevenson.
Lawmakers used more than $680 million from their reserves, as well as federal dollars from the CARES Act to balance the budget. The measure will drain nearly a third of the state's rainy day funds, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Senate President Stuart Adams praised the state’s frugal spending prior to the pandemic and said he felt “pretty fortunate to be in Utah.”
“Because of the efforts that have been made by previous legislators, people that have sat in our seats before us, we have the ability to do those types of things because we prepared well,” Adams said.