Closing night at the Legislature may still be a week away, but Republican lawmakers say they are putting the finishing touches on the most difficult part of the session: the 1990 budget.
By blending some one-time surplus monies from this year - upwards of $70 million - into next year's the budget, lawmakers have come up with a fiscal plan that "allows us to fund the critical needs" while still leaving $19 million for tax relief, said Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, co-chairman of the powerful Executive Appropriations Committee.Hillyard said the preliminary proposal doesn't provide any money to pay cash for state buildings next year. "I think we'll end up with a $52 million bond. I don't sense a great deal of support for a water bond, so that's $52 million for buildings alone," he said.
Sen. Fred Finlinson, R-Murray, wants a $50 million water bond and fellow senators gave that measure preliminary approval Tuesday.
The Republican leaders' budget plan includes a 3 percent pay raise for all state workers and public educators. It also has includes pay raises for judges and elected officials, like Gov. Norm Bangerter and Attorney General Paul Van Dam. Lawmakers are not giving themselves a pay raise this year.
Republican leadership has divied out $46.4 million in one-time surplus money to the different legislative committees and has told them to spend it on their top priority one-time expenses. Included in that list is $12 million for the West Valley Highway, $2.5 million for state park access roads and $8 million for maintenance on state buildings.
In addition to the $46.4 million, the Senate says there is still about $10 million of unallocated one-time funds, while the House claims there is only $8.1 million in unallocated funds.
"We feel there's enough money to solve the problems and fix the squeaky wheels," said House Majority Leader Craig Moody, R-Sandy.