The State Bonding Commission and State Building Ownership Authority have authority to initiate the issuance of bonds from legislative debt authorizations. The Office of State Treasurer executes on these authorizations by orchestrating all debt issuance of the state, prepares and disseminates post-issuance market disclosures, and maintains investor, underwriter and rating agency relations.
The office maintains the accounting of all debt issued as well as a debt model to inform state officials on impact and timing of contemplated debt offerings.
In addition, the treasurer chairs and the office staffs the Utah Charter School Finance Authority (UCSFA), which provides municipal market access to Utah charter schools issuing debt. As part of these duties, UCSFA, with support from treasury tstaff, administers the state’s credit enhancement program to qualifying Utah charter schools providing significant savings to Utah schools.
IRMA Exemption Letter
State Finance Review Commission
During the 2022 General Legislative Session, the legislature passed House Bill 82 – State Finance Review Commission, which establishes a new commission of State officials to oversee the borrowing and lending activities of the State, including State agencies and borrowing political subdivisions of the State.
Debt Affordability Study
House Bill 82 also requires the Office of State Treasurer to publish an annual Debt Affordability Study on or before November 1 of each year.
The Debt Affordability Study is intended to inform the legislature, investors, rating agencies, and Utahns on the State’s outstanding tax-supported debt obligations, debt practices, and perspectives of the state treasurer on the prudent use of debt. It does not, however, constrain or compel policymakers in any way. The study does not overly focus on the legal constraints on debt. Focusing on constitutional or statutory debt limits is akin to focusing on the credit card limit in one’s personal finance, which is not the best way to manage either a state or a personal budget. The study instead uses comparison data from other states, best practices of the three major credit rating services, and strategic ideas to provide informed perspectives on the reasonable use of debt. The intent is to aid legislators in making critical decisions regarding the authorization of new debt and the funding of long-term liabilities. The authors hope this study will assist in maintaining Utah’s legacy of conservative debt use, while also being pragmatic about the critical role of debt in the important development activities that will continue to facilitate Utah’s robust and growing economy.
The Debt Affordability Study is limited to the tax-supported debt of the State and State agencies. This includes both General Obligation (GO) debt as well as lease-revenue bonds issued through the State Building Ownership Authority. The study also contemplates long-term liabilities of the State, such as pension, Other Postemployment Benefit Plan (OPEB) obligations, and annual leave, but does not contemplate debt-incurring activities of local municipalities nor any affiliated bonding political subdivisions of the State, such as Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, Inland Port Authority, Utah Lake Authority, or the Military Installation Development Authority.
Debt Affordability Study