SALT LAKE CITY — If you need proof of the Utah Legislature’s commitment to public education, Senate Majority Assistant Whip Ann Millner points to what lawmakers did when they were forced to slash the state budget this summer due to a steep decline in tax revenues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Income tax revenues, which are earmarked for education, dropped some $700 million. Meanwhile, other funding sources such as sales tax dropped too, but by a lower percentage. Because the Utah Legislature is constitutionally mandated to balance the state budget, lawmakers cut the state budget to align the reduced revenues, said Millner, R-Ogden.
Instead of imposing an across-the-board reduction, lawmakers followed the intent of HB357, which passed earlier in the year and would create a public education stabilization fund to hedge against future economic downturns, although the fund has not yet been funded.
“We funded an increase in funds for