Governor Gordon calls for caution on spending, cites changing prices and threats to mineral industries

Mark Gordon
Mark Gordon(Governor Mark Gordon)
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 11:37 AM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now/PRESS RELEASE) - Gov. Mark Gordon wants the Wyoming economy to pump the brakes.

The governor is calling for a cautious approach to state spending in response to the July 2023 revenue update, or pacing report, issued by the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group. Gordon said he will continue to apply conservative principles to budgeting as he prepares his next two-year budget proposal.

The July CREG pacing report released Friday shows total revenue collections for the general fund and budget reserve account exceed the January 2023 CREG forecast by $176.1 million. 

While high natural gas prices from 2022 resulted in strong revenues, prices and volumes have been falling steadily since reaching those record highs. This change could cause those gains to evaporate quickly.

Gordon also cited worries about environmental policies imposed by the Biden Administration.

“Wyoming continues to face an ongoing threat to its legacy mineral industries through the Biden Administration’s anti-fossil fuel policies that harm economic growth and impact revenues in Wyoming and across the country,” the Office of Governor Mark Gordon wrote in a statement.

The governor noted another key component in the budget picture is Wyoming’s recovery of $584 million of COVID-related expenditures from 2020 with ARPA funds.

But that money won’t be coming back again.

“In the next budget, we must first restore $330 million in state general fund dollars to maintain existing government services that are currently funded with ARPA Revenue Replacement funds,” the release stated.

Though optimistic, Gordon is weary of the future.

“I am encouraged with the July CREG Pacing Report, which may appear favorable on the surface, but it is important to remember that it is a backward-looking document,” Governor Gordon said. “This examination of recent revenues also shows gathering storm clouds on the horizon that could signal a change in Wyoming’s future revenues.”

The governor will release his next two-year budget proposal in November.