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Senate OKs cap hike for Navajo fund

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The Senate gave a nod this past week to raising the cap on a state fund that helps finance projects such as housing and infrastructure for Navajos in southern Utah.

However, because of its fiscal impact, HB19 will be held until budget items are prioritized.

The bill would raise the cap on the Navajo Revitalization Fund from $2 million to $4 million.

"Two million dollars in the trust is not meeting the needs of those Navajo people," said Sen. Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich, D-Price, Senate sponsor of the bill.

The fund relies on state severance taxes from oil and gas revenues on the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation. It receives one-third of those state taxes, which are used as grants that require matches, for capital improvements. To date, it has received $10.8 million of the $32 million the state has received.

A related bill, HB138, would boost the Uintah Basin Revitalization Fund's cap from $3 million to $6 million. That bill has not yet had a hearing.