Earmarks are becoming a concern in Utah's budget

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  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:33 a.m.

    "For instance, all state income tax collections in Utah go toward public and higher education. That is not unreasonable in a state where large families require large expenditures on education."


    And in Utah, you'll be hard pressed to find conservatives who'll decry this "socialism", yet the'll scream bloody murder should they be required to participate in a program (the ACA) which helps socialize the costs of health care.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    In Utah, the Utah Legislature passes a budget. There are between 6 and 12 budget bills each year. In 2012, for example, they passed with very few voting against any of them from either party.

    The system, overall, works. Not everyone gets everything they want, but it works. For the override for 2011 SB 229 (transportation "earmark" to work in 2011, it needed 50 house members and 20 from the senate. It got 50 and 21, from both houses and parties.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 7:48 a.m.

    "Most of these go toward transportation. Two years ago, the Legislature overrode Herbert’s veto and passed a bill that requires 30 percent of all new growth in sales and use taxes go into a transportation investment fund. In the next fiscal year this will eat up $125 million that lawmakers can’t spend on anything else"

    You also should include that that "earmark" has a cap, that would limit it to approx. the amount a transportation related sales tax received in Utah. Since more cars are using natural gas or running on electric batteries, we need something. This move actually makes sense. It shows a good reason why we should not be so quick to raise the state's gas tax and should work harder to keep the fed's part of it as in most cases now, Utah is the one paying for the fixes and improvements on interstate roads.

  • Jory payson, utah
    Dec. 7, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    Midwest Mom.
    Seeing how most of the land in Utah is under federal control, and its all of the usable parts. I think its fair that the federal government pay their fair share.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Dec. 6, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    Strange how a state so well known for its contempt for federal government would have such a front and center position at the federal feed trough Slurp away.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 1:19 p.m.

    It was stated in the editorial that all state income taxes are earmarked for public and higher education.

    If I understand history correctly, a state constitutional amendment was passed in the 90's that allowed the legislature to direct a large amount of state income tax dollars to go to higher education. The legislature then raided the higher ed appropriated funds and used them on transportation. The total revenues redirected, I believe, as approached $350 million over the last decade.

    I may be wrong on some of the specifics, but Doug MacDonald, a former economist for the state of Utah, has studied and written extensively upon these redirected funds.

    Education is being starved in Utah...very slowly.

    Perhaps earmarks should have a time frame by which they must be reviewed and renewed. If every 2-3 years any earmarked budget items were reviewed, debated, and voted upon, it would provide opportunity for accountability.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    It is wise to review government expenditures and not allow them to go along on auto-pilot.
    Then again, reviews take time and I would be opposed to a full time legislature.
    Perhaps the compromise would be to give a voice to politicians who request that individual items be examined, sort of like the power to discuss individual items on a consent agenda by removing them from the vote.