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Utah lawmakers slated to address state's 2003 budget shortfall during special session

Staff reporter

Utah lawmakers will meet in special session June 26 to address revenue shortfalls for the fourth time in 2002.

"The current revenue shortfall is a challenge - not a crisis," commented Utah Senate executive appropriations chair Leonard Blackham.

Although legislators have balanced the state's 2002 budget, lawmakers must address an anticipated $173 million revenue shortfall in 200.

"We are very fortunate to still have a number of financial options left without being forced to raise taxes," pointed out the state executive appropriations committee chairman. "Though difficult, the close scrutiny of state funds is a very healthy process to eliminate unnecessary or inefficient government programs."

According to Utah Senate president Al Mansell, legislators are scheduled to convene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The lawmakers will break into nine appropriation subcommittees to review state agency budgets and look for possible reductions.

The officials will caucus with colleagues at the special session and discuss potential budget balancing options.

Legislators will analyze recommendations and receive constituent input. Lawmakers will meet July 8 for additional deliberations and make recommendations to the executive appropriations committee.

Comprised of Senate and House leaders, the executive appropriations panel will take final action on subcommittee recommendations. Bills balancing the 2003 budget will be prepared for distribution to the entire Legislature for consideration.

Lawmakers plan to return July 9, with the intent of passing a balanced budget and addressing other items included in the governor's special session call.

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