Domestic violence advocates react to proposed budget

Feb 24, 2023, 10:39 PM | Updated: 11:15 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Republican state leaders released a $28 billion proposed budget for the coming fiscal year Friday, one week ahead of the end of the legislative session.

“Well, I think Utah did it again. For the third year in a row, we did a tax cut,” Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton said.

At the top of the list is education. Legislators recommended an increase in funding more than a half billion dollars. Plus, $413 million in one-time money and $14 million in ongoing money for water conservation efforts.

“We’re going to solve our water problems and we’re going to do it through conservation and new water development,” Senator Adams said.

For some, the most exciting part of the budget came in the more $25 million that would go to victim services.

“We will now be able to really meet the needs of victims as they’re coming to us,” said Erin Jemison, director of public policy for the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

“Be able to live a life free of abuse and break that cycle and that’s the difference when you have a system that’s well-funded versus just getting by,” Jemison added.

Jemison said the amount is about half of what they asked for but still triple the funds currently set aside to help victims of domestic violence and other crimes.

“Even at half it’s really going to make a difference in the lives of victims all over the state,” she said.

Adams said growth in the state remains one of the biggest challenges for state leaders as they piece together a budget for the 2024 fiscal year.

“Frontrunner has to be as efficient—and using public transit—as driving a car,” he said.

Adams said along with funding transportation, the budget also takes into account the economic uncertainty in the months and years ahead with $1.5 billion allocated toward one-time expenses and another tax cut for Utahns.

“Because we are worried about a slowdown in the economy. If we can help their budgets by putting more money in their pocket, that’s a good thing.”

The budget recommendation now goes to the full legislature for consideration and refinement next week.

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Domestic violence advocates react to proposed budget