Utah advocacy group offers ‘Pork Barrel Report’ outlining state spending

Dec 21, 2022, 5:53 PM
utah capitol, which had a fire set yesterday, is pictured...
FILE: Exterior of the Utah Capitol (Annie Barker/Deseret News)
(Annie Barker/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Saying it wants to boost government accountability and transparency, the Utah Taxpayers Association (the Association) is out with its new spending report, “The Pork Barrel.”

They said they’ve compiled this information to highlight the growth in Utah government spending over the past five years.

“General Fund and Education Fund spending,” the group said in a presentation on its website, “which is what the legislature has control over, has grown from $6,676,808,900 to $11,624,106,100 in 2023.” 

That’s an increase in government spending, the group said, of more than 74%. 

This report focused on one-time spending, ongoing spending, cultural and community engagement, transportation, and higher education buildings. The Association said that in years to come they will focus on other areas of state spending.

Ongoing general and education fund spending

Citing the state budgets between fiscal years 2018 and 2022, the Association noted an increase of nearly $5 billion in ongoing general and education fund spending, an increase of 74% in about 10% increments each year. Ongoing spending is made up of funds that lawmakers believe will be reoccurring each year.

One-time spending

Between the 2021 and 2022 general sessions of the Utah legislature, one-time spending totaled more than $6, 500,000,000. It increased by more than 38% between the two years. One-time spending is believed by lawmakers to be temporary, or, not ongoing.

Cultural and community engagement

The Association reported that spending on cultural and community engagement nearly tripled between the fiscal years 2018 and 2023, a 181% increase overall that averaged nearly 19% each year. 

The largest increase in this category went to arts and museums cultural grants and pass-through (when a business is not subject to the corporate income tax.)

While the Utah Taxpayer’s Association wants to boost Utah government spending transparency, there are already several existing resources. These include an online request form for appropriations, an online funding item follow-up report, and an online budget visualization tool.

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Utah advocacy group offers ‘Pork Barrel Report’ outlining state spending