SB 102: A Better Way to Fund Higher Education Building Projects
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Every year higher education institutions come up to the Capitol and beg the Utah Legislature to fund their large building projects. A pattern has developed where each institution is able to get a large project funded every few years. These universities and colleges don’t want to waste their turn as they wait in line so they tend to ask for money for the largest projects as opposed to smaller, more economical ones.
The current incentives have caused this poor funding pattern to be developed. Senator Ann Millner’s Senate Bill 102 seeks to rectify the situation. The legislation creates restricted accounts for both the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) and the Utah System of Technical Colleges (UTECH). Funds would be placed in these accounts to be used for building projects.
Most of the existing procedure would be maintained in order to qualify to use these funds. Collecting private donations, creating building plans, determining project costs, and getting the appropriate reviews from the board of regents and building board. The Utah Legislature would also keep its authority to approve these projects.
By making this change, it should allow for higher education institutions to use the funds for more economical projects, like renovations and add-ons instead of another expansive expensive new building.