Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst - Background
Utah's Legislative Fiscal Analyst is selected by the state's Legislative Management Committee and appointed by approval of the Legislature as a whole. The Fiscal Analyst is charged by law with duties and responsibilities relating to fiscal oversight, as described below.
Thirty days prior to each legislative session, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, by statute, receives from the Governor proposed budget recommendations. The Fiscal Analyst is required to review this executive budget before the Legislature convenes and to make recommendations and comments to the Legislature on each item or program. The Analyst not only recommends specific levels of funding, but also: (1) highlights instances in which the administration may be failing to carry out the expressed intent of the Legislature; (2) calls attention to each proposed new service contained in the Governor's budget; and (3) points out items that have been previously denied by the Legislature.
Just prior to and during each legislative session, the Fiscal Analyst and his staff gather and analyze data and prepare and present reports to the several appropriations subcommittees. The Office of the Fiscal Analyst provides staff support to each subcommittee of the Joint Appropriations Committee and is responsible for presenting independent recommendations to those subcommittees. The Office also responds to information requests of the Joint Appropriations Committee, and, under the committee's direction, prepares the appropriations bill for submission to the Legislature.
The Fiscal Analyst and staff are also responsible for providing fiscal notes on proposed legislation. As most bills have some fiscal implication, the Fiscal Analyst's task is to identify such implications by analysis including direct contact with agencies affected by the legislation. Fiscal notes prepared by the Analyst represent an independent appraisal, but are in no way binding upon the Legislature.
Further, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst is directed by law to prepare revenue estimates for existing and proposed revenue acts. Prior to each Legislative session, the office makes detailed revenue estimates for all state operating funds. These estimates are delivered to the Legislature in addition to estimates prepared by the executive branch. The Office of the Fiscal Analyst must also "propose and analyze statutory changes to effect operation economies of more effective administration" and to "conduct organizational and management improvement studies."
Following each legislative session, the Fiscal Analyst prepares and issues a full report on the fiscal impact of legislative action taken. This "Appropriations Report" contains a summary of all appropriations, reductions, and increases; as well as revenue measures, new programs, and expressed legislative intent.
References to the responsibilities of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst can be found in: Utah Code Annotated 36-12-13; Budgetary Procedures Act (U.C.A. 63J Chapter 1); Fund Consolidation Act (U.C.A. 51-5-3); and State Money Management Act (U.C.A. 51-7).