Walker Institute of Politics at WSU on revised budget list

Mar 9 2013 - 12:52am

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SALT LAKE CITY -- State lawmakers have added a $250,000 expenditure during late budget negotiations to fund a Weber State project.

Republican lawmakers released a revised budget in caucus Friday, and the adjusted outline includes funding for the Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service at WSU as part of the $13 billion spending plan.

The institute is named after former Gov. Olene Walker and provides programs to develop student leadership opportunities and promote interest in public service, according to its website.

"The eagle has landed, we have a budget," Rep. Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace, told caucus members. He said House and Senate GOP leaders negotiated some changes Friday morning.

Late changes included:

* A bump in a cost of living adjustment for state employees from $6.5 million to $6.715 million.

* $3 million in additional money for graduate school admissions at Utah State University.

* $500,000 for the state's Public Lands Policy Coordination Office.

* $2.4 million in funding for electronic devices for schools as part of the one-to-one device initiative.

Lawmakers still have adjustments to make. House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, said lawmakers made changes to the budget list released Thursday at the behest of the governor's office.

Besides the general appropriations list, lawmakers also prepare a bill of bills next week to handle late changes and adjustments.

Lockhart admits she expects to hear from a lot of people about late funding issues in the waning days of the session, which ends at midnight on Thursday.

One of those people is Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, who is still hoping to secure some funding for an air show at Hill Air Force Base in 2014.

Dee said the budget will also include some rainy day funds to deal with possible lawsuit settlements.

Even though most of the details are in place, Dee suggested sequestration at the federal level could force lawmakers to make adjustments to the 2014 spending plan after the session adjourns next week.

He raised the specter of needing to come back later this year in special session if the federal cuts significantly impact state funds and the budget.

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