SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah lawmakers are approving the majority of the state budget and guaranteeing agencies their current funding will be maintained.
The so-called base budget bills unanimously passed one chamber of the Legislature Tuesday. The eight bills mostly mirror the budgets approved last year and account for more than 95 percent of the total state appropriations that will be made this year.
Lawmakers still need to decide how to appropriate a projected $400 million surplus. That includes $280 million in revenue growth for the upcoming fiscal year that can be used to pay for ongoing programs.
Legislative leaders and Gov. Gary Herbert are generally supportive of using the surplus for paying down debt, boosting reserves and covering the growth in public education.