There are a number of constitutional amendments for the state of Utah on the ballot this year. This is an impartial explanation of constitutional amendment B.
Constitutional amendment B amends a provision of the Utah constitution relating to a permanent state trust fund. The amendment expands the sources of money that can be placed in the trust fund to include money or other assets given to the trust fund under any provision of law.
In 2001, the Utah Constitution was amended to establish a permanent state trust fund. Money may be removed from the trust fund only if the governor and three-fourths of the legislature agree. Interest and other income earned from the money in the trust fund are deposited into the state's. Under the current Utah Constitution, the trust fund may receive money from two sources: (1) money the state receives relating to the November 1998 settlement agreement with leading tobacco manufacturers; and (2) other funds and assets that the trust fund receives either by bequest through a will or by private donation. The Utah Constitution does not currently state that the trust fund may include money from any other source. It is, therefore, subject to dispute whether the Utah Constitution would allow the legislature to appropriate money to the trust fund or to provide by law for some other source of money for the trust fund.
Constitutional amendment B expands the sources which the permanent state trust fund may receive money or other assets. The amendment states that the trust fund may also consist of money or other assets given to the fund under any provision of law. This Amendment allows the legislature to appropriate money to the trust fund or to provide by law for other sources of money to be deposited into the trust fund.
If approved by voters, Constitutional amendment B takes affect January 1, 2009.
Enactment of this Amendment alone will not likely result in any increase or decrease in revenue or cost to state or local government. However, if money or other assets are given to the trust fund as a result of this amendment that would not otherwise have been given, the trust fund is likely to grow faster than it would have otherwise. If this happens, there may be an increase in resources available to programs supported by the trust fund.
(For more information on constitutional amendments and initiatives that will be on the ballot Nov. 4, 2008 go to http://elections.utahgov/propositioninitiativesreferendums.html.)