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State Ends the Fiscal Year in the Black

State Ends the Fiscal Year in the Black

Posted - Jul. 16, 2004 at 7:42 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The state ended the fiscal year with a $106 million surplus in the school and general fund accounts, and the state transportation fund has a $12.5 million surplus.

The state Tax Commission said Thursday that tax revenues in the July-through-June fiscal year were higher than expected.

Doug Macdonald, chief commission economist, said sales taxes were $32 million higher and personal income taxes were nearly $60 million more than estimated.

The surplus was the largest since 2000, when the state finished $120 million in the black.

In recent years, the state has had trouble staying out of the red as the economy slowed and revenues tended to be even worse than gloomy projections. Former Gov. Mike Leavitt had to make up more than $700 million in lost tax revenue.

Budgets were trimmed, money was borrowed for highways and buildings, and the state's Rainy Day funds dropped from more than $100 million to around $10 million.

By law, half of the $106 million surplus will now flow into Rainy Day funds, which should help Utah maintain its AAA bond rating.

Gov. Olene Walker, who leaves office in January, said last month that she would not suggest to legislators in a planned September special session that any of the new surplus be spent. She said the next governor and Legislature can decide what to do with the surplus.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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