Ravell Call, Deseret News
Gov Gary Herbert is interviewed at the Capitol in Salt Lake City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013.

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert used some colorful language to describe sequestration Thursday, saying "it's butt-biting time" because the federal government has failed to live within its means.

"We have been preaching from the state of Utah for a long time about the need to be fiscally prudent," Herbert said during a media availability at the Capitol. "You cannot spend more than you take in. You cannot continue to borrow more than is appropriate. You cannot, in today's environment, borrow 40 cents of every dollar you're spending and not have some day that you're going to have to pay the piper.

"We always have said if we continue to do this, it's going to come back and bite us in the butt. And it's butt-biting time, you know, right now. So we're going to find some pain … we're going to find some inconvenience here. We've got to get a handle on this spending, because it's not sustainable," he said.

The governor said the impact on the economy may be long term.

"It will be much worse later if we don't take care of it today," Herbert said. "The idea of spending cuts in Washington is something we ought to appreciate and applaud."

He said he was optimistic the situation could be turned around, noting that Utah faced a $1 billion loss in revenue during the Great Recession but now is counting on some $274 million in revenue growth in the upcoming budget year.

"The contrast to me is startling," Herbert said of Utah's financial situation compared with that of the federal government. "Our method is working."

Lisa Riley Roche

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