Legislators get brand new toys while citizens will feel impact of budget cuts

While budgets are being slashed, Utah legislators have and will reap the benefits of new technology: brand new laptops and cell phones.
The justification for this? According to an article in the Deseret News:

….legislative leaders point out that the new computers were authorized several years ago when the state was swimming in money.

Well there ya go. Now that makes sense.
Even though monies in excess of over $1 million are being cut from state budgets, monies that were already approved in prior budgets, legislator’s won’t feel the impact of that with their new toys. Here are the costs:

The new cell phone and service contract — which will cost around $145,000 a year — is already built into the Legislature’s ongoing budget. So the new phones aren’t costing the state additional tax dollars. And the Legislature is taking, on average, the same budget cuts as the rest of state government….Michael Christensen, head of the Legislative Office of Research and General Counsel, said the state will pay $12,031 a month for the phones and service.

Wow. Utah’s priorities really need more scrutiny. This expenditure is not responsible given what citizens are facing in terms of the impact of the looming budget cuts.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)


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