The long-awaited state revenue estimates are in - and it won't be Christmas at the Capitol as some hoped.
There's a little more money next year - $5.2 million according to the Legislature's fiscal analyst, $10 million according to Gov. Norm Bangerter's budget director - than previously thought but not enough for lobbyists or state employees to start dancing in Capitol halls.Bangerter said the extra money will provide a little flexibility in working up a balanced budget. At the first of the session, the governor said if revenue estimates improved enough, he would want a greater than 3 percent pay raise for state workers. But there may not be enough for that. Bangerter said he will meet with legislative leaders later Tuesday to discuss what the extra money may be used for.
Still, it's always better to have more money than the year before, and in that aspect Utah state government is doing fine.
The lawmakers' analyst estimates the state will take in $106 million more in fiscal 1989-90 than this year.
Dale Hatch, Bangerter's budget director, says it will be closer to $111 million.
But there are a lot of claims on that money, said Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, co-chairman of the powerful Executive Appropriations Committee.
"All those people walking around the halls hoping for $40 million (above previous estimates) might as well go home. We don't have it," said Rep. Glen Brown, R-Coalville, Hillyard's House counterpart.
The new revenue estimates boil down to this: Lawmakers still plan to give a $19 million tax reduction later this year but no more than $19 million.
They still plan to give state employees and public educators 3 percent pay raises.
"Basically," said Hillyard, "we have $28 million (in unallocated funds) out of which must come the $19 million tax cut, all the money bills, any payments for the Quail Creek disaster and any extra spending above the recommended (1989-90) budget."