March 7, 2011
Utah education leaders oppose proposed Constitutional amendment on state spending limitations
(Salt Lake City) — Officials from both Public and Higher Education are expressing their concern today over House Joint Resolution 37 (HJR37) that proposes to amend the Utah Constitution by limiting legislative expenditures. This amendment would keep state appropriations to the amount spent in the preceding fiscal year, while adjusting any future spending based on inflation, deflation or change in population. Education advocates are concerned that this proposed amendment does not account for the student growth projected for K-12 Public and Higher Education, as well as how it negatively affects Utah’s future as defined by Utah business leaders through the “Prosperity 2020” initiative and outlined in the HigherEdUtah2020 Plan.
“In order to achieve 66% of our future workforce with some sort of post-secondary credential or degree by the year 2020, it is essential for our institutions to grow at a faster rate than the state funding allowed in the resolution,” said Bill Sederburg, Commissioner of Higher Education. “To pass an amendment like this would greatly limit the ability of Utah to achieve economic prosperity.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry Shumway agrees, “Our schools and institutions of higher education have faced budget cuts consistently over the past few years, and this amendment would add another cut on top of those cuts.”
Further, officials point out that amending the Constitution is unnecessary. For over twenty years, Utah has had a state spending limitation statute; a limit that has never been exceeded. Utah’s fiscal frugality is well known, leading to repeated recognition as one of the best-managed states in the nation. Sederburg says, “Saying that the state could never invest more than they are spending after three years of budget cuts would stifle Utah’s prosperity, and we feel it is important to help our legislators realize the critical consequences that passing this resolution would create for the future.”
About The Utah System of Higher Education: USHE includes all of Utah’s eight public colleges and universities: The University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Snow College, Dixie State College, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. For more information on the Utah System of Higher Education, visit our website at http://www.higheredutah.org.
About the Utah State Board of Education: USBE exercises supervision and general control of the 576,000-student Utah public education system encompassing more than 1,000 schools including 72 charter schools and 10 virtual schools.
# # #Posted by: psilberman