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With the release last week of his annual budget proposal, Governor Jon Huntsman provided yet another vivid example that times of plenty have given way to a period of extraordinary fiscal challenge. A billion dollar reduction in Utah's next annual budget will be painful.
For the most part, the governor's non-binding recommendations provide an excellent blueprint for the legislative budgeting process that will accelerate after the first of the year. In KSL's view, lawmakers charged with actually setting the budget shouldn't stray too far from what the governor is proposing.
While every area of state government will have to do some excruciating belt-tightening, the process will be less difficult here than in other states that haven't been as well-managed. These are times for Utahns to appreciate the fiscal prudence exercised by lawmakers in recent years. At the same time, such caution should not summarily deter lawmakers from adopting the governor's recommended "economic kick-start" proposal designed to keep people working.
There is sure to be a lot of give and take to finalize the state's next budget. As the process proceeds, KSL appreciates Governor Huntsman's optimistic approach and the confidence it inspires that Utah and her people will make it through these lean times.