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Governor's Office gives ABC 4 a sneak peak at 2014 budget

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - The governor's budget team laid out their list of priorities for 2014 Monday. Governor Gary Herbert, and his team, say they are focusing on long-term goals.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - The governor's budget team laid out their list of priorities for 2014 Monday. Governor Gary Herbert, and his team, say they are focusing on long-term goals.

 

"We're looking at not just the impact today but the impact of 10, 20 30 years out,” explained Kristen Cox, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

 

Cox says they've narrowed down their focus to budget drivers; priorities like, education, Medicaid, infrastructure, corrections, and compensation. All together they make up about 80 percent of the budget.

 

Cox said, "We’re being very strategic in looking at cost drivers over the next few years and making sure Utah leads the nation in coming up with innovative solutions to managing costs while still providing great services."

 

Because of the overall economic uncertainty on the national level due to the federal shutdown, sequestration and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act Utah is expected to see a slight drop in revenue.

 

This year the state is projecting $132 million in new, one-time funds. That’s down from over $160 million in 2013, and $206 million in new on-going funds, also down from about $264 million.

 

Juliette Tennert, the Governor’s Office Chief Economist said, "New expenditures will be more constrained this session...than they were last year."

 

But the governor’s office is confident that won't result in increased taxes or increased debt for 2014.

 

"We are very clear that this year we don't think it's time for bonding to occur,” said Cox. “We need to demonstrate fiscal discipline this year both to taxpayers and rating agencies that look at the state and we need to make progress at paying down debt before we take new obligations."

 

What is still unclear in the 2014 budget is whether Governor Herbert will make the choice to expand Medicaid. While expansion under the Affordable Care Act is fully funded by the federal government, the governor's office says the expansion could impact the state's revenue and by how much is what they’re still trying to determine.

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