Utah lawmakers convene with early focus on budget

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Utah lawmakers will be focusing heavily on budget issues and education funding as they begin their 2012 general session. Republican Senate President Michael Waddoups says the session will have an optimistic tone because Utah’s economy is growing. Waddoups says a $280 million surplus means state agencies will not be facing cuts and employees could even get small raises. During the first couple weeks, legislators could approve agency budgets at last year’s funding levels and even provide additional money for student growth in public education. Gov. Gary Herbert recommends in his proposed budget additional funding for education initiatives that utilize technology as well as more money for social services. Other issues legislators will tackle during the 45-day session that begins Monday are liquor laws and immigration reform.

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