< Previous Page
Congress returns to session this week, though it’s unlikely to act to stop the automatic cuts by Friday’s deadline. While Utah’s members of Congress have acknowledged the hit Utah could take, they have also noted that perhaps it will spur movement to make cuts to the bloated federal budget.
"I’m for sequestration," Sen. Orrin Hatch told Utah lawmakers last week. "We’ve got to face the music now, or it will be much tougher later."
Top use of federal funds in Utah
$1.357 billion » Medicaid
$470 million » Unemployment insurance
$441 million » Highway planning, construction
$432 million » Supplemental nutrition assistance (formerly food stamps)
$369 million » Research and development
$250 million » Student financial assistance
$157 million » Special ed
$125 million » Child nutrition
$4.768 billion » Total federal funding to state, including universities and colleges
Source: Utah State Auditor’s Office, 2012
Not that it won’t be tough now, too.
Next to North Dakota, whose oil and gas boom has kept unemployment low and its economy flourishing, Utah enjoys one of the top growing economy in the nation. The state’s unemployment rate of 5.2 percent is far lower than national rate of 7.8 percent
A study by George Mason University last year showed the automatic budget cuts could cost Utah some 1.6 percent of the state’s gross product.
Some Utahns might feel a pretty immediate blow from Congress’ inaction, while for most it will be a "slow boil," meaning the indirect effect may take time to see.
"Certainly if you’re on the federal payroll, you could see some very direct impact," says Gochnour, the chamber’s economist. "For the average Utahn, it will become increasingly apparent how much of a problem it is to lose this funding."
Lee Davidson contributed to this story.
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.