State budget needs to be finished by Thursday

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 UTAH) – With more than $13 billion to account for, Utah's house of representatives and state senate have not come to an agreement on the state's budget.

“I’m concerned that they are not discussing the issue to each other. The house and senate need to have dialog. They need to have the ability to compromise, and I’m concerned about the lack of effort,” said Governor Gary Herbert.

With four days left, education ranks high on the list with nearly $2.8 billion in funding.

“I think every reasonable, rational person understands the importance of embracing technology as part of our educational environment,” Herbert said.

House Speaker Becky Lockhart wants $200 million for a technology initiative.

“The implication of this idea and how you plan for it is a key part of what needs to happen, and we haven’t seen that. There is just a big idea with a lot of money but not really a plan that goes with it,” Herbert said.

The governor has three ideas on the proposal:
• He thinks the state shouldn’t throw all that money in at once.
• He would like to see a performance matrix to make sure students are learning
• He thinks it should be voluntary and not forced on districts across the state.

Another sticking point in the budget is transportation. Lawmakers are divided on what to do with the gas tax.

“There needs to be some adjustment to the gasoline tax and find a way for us to go forward and fund long term transportation,” the governor added.

Other major parts of the budget deal with health care, homeless programs, marketing initiatives and small business outreach, and tourism.

“I expect that they will have a balanced budget that is a reasonable and rational one by the end of session,” Herbert said.

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