News Release

Utah’s bonded indebtedness stands in sharp contrast to that of the nation

May 17, 2023 (Salt Lake City) – The State of Utah’s bonding practices vary dramatically from the practices of the federal government. An analysis by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute shows borrowing in both the U.S. and Utah increased dramatically over several decades in nominal terms. Yet even with those higher nominal debt loads at both levels of government, major differences exist.

“Federal government debt as a percent of the U.S. economy, currently at about 120% of gross domestic product (GDP), raises serious questions and is at the center of significant deliberation as Congress debates the federal debt ceiling and various spending cuts,” said Gardner Institute Scholar-in-Residence Mike Christensen and lead author of the report. “This accumulated debt results from the combination of crisis-related debt spikes and continuous deficit spending to cover basic annual operating expenses. By contrast, Utah’s debt is used exclusively for capital projects such as roads and buildings, which serve as a valuable investment in the state’s capital stock for future generations.”

Key findings include the following:

– U.S. Government Deficit & Borrowing– The federal government consistent