Education will again receive the bulk of the added funds provided in the 1989-90 state budget approved by the Utah Legislature last month.
That was the conclusion reached by Utah Foundation, a private state and local government research agency, in its analysis of the most recent legislative session.According to the study, higher education will get a $64.5 million increase, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the added permanent funding made available for the coming fiscal year. The Legislature allocated $72 million more in permanent funding this year, a 2.5 percent increase over the current fiscal year. The state budget totaled nearly $3 billion.
In addition to the education budget increase, education employees will get modest salary increases next year. Higher education faculty and employees are expected to receive a 3 percent increase. Local school districts will have their salaries determined through negotiations held with local school boards in the 40 state school districts. According to the study, the boost will be comparable to higher education salary increases.
Although much of Gov. Norm Bangerter's six-point tax limitation plan was approved, two of the main proposals were not, the study noted. Lawmakers did not adopt a property tax freeze or a general tax reduction. Even though no agreement was reached regarding tax reduction, $19 million was set aside in the state's "rainy day" fund. According to the study, these tax proposals could be reconsidered in a special legislative session or when the Legislature meets in 1990.
Although these two measures were not approved, the study says the most significant part of the governor's program - state appropriations and tax limitation - was adopted.
This bill freezes the local school property tax rate, limits increases in state appropriations to changes in population and inflation, and places a limit on the state general obligation indebtedness.
The study says circuit breaker tax relief received a 66.7 percent budget increase, the largest of any state program. The budget was increased from $1.5 million to $2.5 million. The money provides more low-income homeowners and renters age 65 and over with property tax credits or rental rebates.
Community and Economic Development was appropriated $12.8 million less than last year, a 16.7 percent decrease from its 1988-89 budget. Percentage-wise it was the greatest decrease of any state program.