No guarantee Utah will get back all money spent to reopen national parks

Published: Monday, Oct. 21 2013 6:58 p.m. MDT

"That's going to be one where they're going to have a rough time not paying us back," said Hatch, co-sponsor of a bill requiring the repayment. "They like national parks and monuments as much as we do."

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, wasn't ready to bet on Utah seeing that money again.

"I couldn't put odds on it," Bishop said. "But it's a possibility that's going to require us to work very hard to make sure that they are treated fairly."

Utah House Majority Leader Brad Dee, R-Ogden, who helped negotiate the contract with the federal government on behalf of legislative leadership, said he is "fairly optimistic" the state will be repaid.

"But there's always the thing about 'the check is in the mail,'" Dee said. "When I see it, once the state does, and it's deposited, then I'll feel confident."

University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank said that could take awhile.

"My guess would be yes, the state will get its money back. But it may not be very quickly," Burbank said, noting the reimbursement being sought by Utah and other states will likely be overshadowed by new budget negotiations.

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