The Utah state government finished the 2021 fiscal year with more than a half-billion dollars in surplus; money lawmakers will be able to appropriate during the legislative session early next year.
Janica Gines, the director of the Utah Division of Finance, told members of the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee on Tuesday afternoon that Utah had a total of $614 million in surplus funds available at the close of the fiscal year. The leftover money was part of two separate budget allocations, with $109,772,000 left in the general fund and $504,720,000 remaining in the education fund, for a total of $614,492,000 in surplus.
“A lot of these things are related to one-time events,” Gines told the committee of the state’s surplus revenue streams. “So that’s something important to keep in mind when you’re looking at the surplus.”
As an examples, she pointed to an almost 16% increase in collected sales tax from fiscal year 2020 to 2021, which she credited to the spending of coronavirus stimulus money.
Added to budget reserves that have been allocated for next fiscal year, lawmakers and state officials will have nearly $1.73 billion in net reserves for 2022.
“Utah’s economy is thriving,” said Gov. Spencer Cox, Utah Senate President Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson in a joint news release Tuesday.
“While this is an unusual year, as the state received unparalleled stimulus money from the federal government, we remain committed to fiscal responsibility and funding forward-thinking and innovative projects,” the Republican politicians added. “The investments we make now will benefit Utahns for generations to come.”
But not all state revenue streams benefited from the pandemic.
According to “Financial Highlights” that the Division of Finance shared with committee on Tuesday, revenue from taxes on federal mineral leases was down more than 16% from last year, and the state’s oil, gas and mining severance taxes yielded 29% less revenue than in 2020.
The findings are preliminary and subject to audit.