(KCPW News) New budget figures released today by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget look like good news for public education funding. Ron Bigelow, Governor Gary Herbert’s budget director, explains that with improving economic conditions, the state is forecasting $280 million in new, ongoing tax revenues.
“So the sales tax, of course driven by retail sales at the store, have improved, and what goes hand in hand with that, normally if people have jobs or are getting more money, they will spend more, and so we also see a corresponding increase in the income tax based upon their wages,” he says.
The revenue forecast also projects an additional $128 million in one-time funds.
Bigelow says while the improved numbers are certainly a positive sign, they don’t mean everyone’s priorities will get funded.
“We will fund the basic requirements. The governor’s priority of course is the growth in education; Medicaid will take a large chunk. We’ll fund a few other things. It provides some flexibility, but we will not be restoring funding to where it was a few years ago. We’re a ways from that still,” says Bigelow.
Bigelow says the governor’s budget proposal is expected to be released in two weeks. The next revenue estimates will be released in February, right in the middle of the 2012 legislative session.
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