Utah lawmakers pass social services base budget of $8 billion

Jan 28, 2022, 4:39 PM | Updated: 4:41 pm
paid assistants utah lawmakers...
House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, presides over the House during the 2022 session of the Utah Legislature at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. Photo Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers have passed an $8.29 billion dollar base budget for social services, and they’re not yet finished with that funding request. Rep. Raymond Ward (R-District 19) said legislators plan to ask for at least $40 million more throughout the remainder of the 2022 session.

Sen. President Stuart Adams says it’s the biggest base budget in the state, surpassing education.

“I remember talking about it earlier in my legislative career, that social services would someday outpace education — take more money from our citizens and require more revenue than our education funding. It happened today,” Adams said.

The social services subcommittee has had several discussions over the last few weeks about a need for more funding, especially when it comes to the care of disabled Utahns.

Rep. Senator Jerry Stevenson (R-District 21) says the larger social services budget makes sense.

“The population of Utah is aging. We’re dealing with less young children than we were a few years ago, in proportion to the population. 

“That’s part of it, and I think we offer more services as a society to people dealing with health issues, than we used to,” Stevenson said.

The social services subcommittee reports that they’ve been told multiple times by community members there isn’t enough money allocated for disability services.

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Utah lawmakers pass social services base budget of $8 billion