Cache Valley Arts in Transit, a reciepient of grant funding

Governor’s Proposed Budget Includes Cost-of-living Increases, New Grant Funding

davidwicaiBlog, Legislature

Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled his proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday, and while the big news for the department was a $6 million ongoing bump in arts and museums grants, there was also other good news for the department and state employees.

As for those grants, the six-fold increase in funding was described by Jill Love as a “generational investment.” It can’t be described any better than that, because it truly elevates the level of support that the state shows for cultural organizations.

There is much more detailed blog post on the department’s website, for those interested in learning more. These grants will also anchor our efforts at the Legislature this year, so there will be more updates throughout the session.

The other new funding request granted to the department this year is a new artifacts collections manager for State History. This will provide important support for the excellent team that oversees the historic collections housed in the Rio Grande.

As for employees, the governor was also generous. Here are the details:

  • 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment
  • 0.5 percent targeted & discretionary funding for high performing employees
  • 4.35 percent PEHP Health Insurance renewal maintaining same employer/employee cost sharing
  • 1 percent one-time bonus or 401(k)/457 contribution for high performing employees ($7,900,000)

While the budget had a lot of positives, the one disappointment was the proposed Utah Artifacts and Arts Center was not included. But the reasoning is driven by economics, as construction costs are extremely high and the labor pool is tight. In fact, with the exception of a National Guard building that is 75 percent paid for by the federal government, the governor doesn’t recommend any new buildings this year. While that means we can’t ask legislators for building money this year, as a department we will continue to educate legislators about the need to protect our collection and work with potential donors on some private funding.