(KCPW News) Governor Gary Herbert’s budget proposal unveiled last week ordered an immediate 3 percent cut to the current 2010 budget, but the Utah Legislature’s top budget committee wants all state agencies to prepare for a larger cut. Rep. Ron Bigelow, co-chairman of the Executive Appropriations Committee, discussed the reasoning for this yesterday on Capitol Hill.
“The intent of this is not to make any statement that we are not going to backfill, or that we’re disagreeing with the governor and his budget,” he said. “It is simply to maintain flexibility at this point until our committees have a chance to weigh in and make some recommendations.”
The appropriations committee approved a plan to start the budget-making process in the upcoming legislative session with a four percent cut for the current fiscal year, and a five percent cut for the 2011 budget beginning in July.
Senator Lyle Hillyard, the other co-chair of the committee, says the governor’s immediate budget cuts will make it easier to tackle what should be a less painful round of cuts next year.
“We really appreciate the leadership of the governor for taking that three percent. We just don’t know whether it’s enough, and it may be,” he said. “Maybe it’s more than enough.”
The committee also decided to hold back $100 million to distribute at the end of next legislative session to whichever programs are prioritized by the various budget subcommittees.