This article was originally published on Deseret News. Read the entire article here.
SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers will have more than a half billion dollars in new money to spend next year, according to revenue estimates released Monday.
And even though legislative fiscal analysts say Utah’s economy is strong, sales tax revenue is down $39 million from what was projected in the current year’s general fund.
“Consumers are not consuming as much as we thought they would,” Jonathan Ball, director of the legislative fiscal analyst’s office, told the Executive Appropriations Committee.
Ball attributed the shortfall to stagnant wages and increased health care spending and online purchases, neither of which are taxed. Utah, he said, is losing $190 million a year in taxes on Internet sales.
Overall, though, the Republican-controlled Legislature has an additional $180 million in one-time revenue and $380 million ongoing for the 2016-17 budget it will adopt during the general session that starts next month, according to “consensus” numbers agreed upon by the Legislature and the governor’s office.