It's time for the Republican majorities in the House and Senate to decide what special projects will be built next year; which new programs will be funded. GOP Senate and House caucuses on Thursday went over the traditional paring down of projects and programs.
Republican budget-setters say $7.9 million is left in fiscal 1988-89, this current year, to pay for $17 million in special requests. Those include $5 million for Quail Creek flood victims, $4 million for a hazardous waste cleanup fund, $500,000 for a new Jazz arena, $125,000 for a special election on holding the Winter Olympics, building a Vietnam War memorial and rebuilding the Antelope Island causeway.There's only $1.5 million, GOP leaders say, to divide up among bills that would cost more than $20 million. Bills vying for money include a $700,000 tax break for the parents of handicapped children who keep their children at home instead of an institution, a tax break for ski resorts that invest in new equipment, a variety of bills that would expand mental health care and a number of other measures.
-MEANWHILE, members of the Executive Appropriations Committee passed a $594.9 million budget Thursday for the departments of health and social services. They also approved a $63.8 million budget for the Department of Community and Economic Development. Both budgets are subject to final approval by the House and Senate and by the governor.
-A MOVE TO FREEZE the Sports Foundation's budget until the state attorney general's office determines whether to file charges against its administrators was thwarted Thursday.
Rep. Kurt Oscarson, D-Sandy, tried to persuade fellow members of the Community and Economic Development appropriations subcommittee to withhold the money, saying he had heard the investigation had uncovered new allegations.
But the committee rejected the idea. Chairman Sen. Richard Tempest, R-Murray, said it would be inappropriate for the committee to act before the investigation is completed.