Wyoming Governor Mead recommends $2.9 billion state budget
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has recommended an almost $2.9 billion budget, which he says will leave about $24 million on the table. The governor said, "It looked like, to me particularly, earlier in the year we were going to have some great challenges, and we do have some challenges. But because revenue has improved, the challenges have not been as bad as we thought they were going to be."
Because revenue is still not what it has been in the past, Governor Mead said the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 biennium that will be submitted to the legislative session will remain conservative.
The governor added, "As we prepared my budget, we understood the challenges, we understood that there were some needs out there, some exception requests that had to be addressed. But I'm pleased to report that we were able to put together a budget in its entirety without using any rainy day funds."
However, Governor Mead had one exception, and that was for the purposes of supporting ENDOW- Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming. The governor said, "That's an appropriate use, in my mind, of the rainy day fund to look at diversifying and building our economy."
The governor went on to say that he is pleased where Wyoming stands compared to ten years ago. He said not only is the budget $400 million less than a decade ago, but we have significantly more savings, fewer positions in state government, fewer dollars spent and significantly less rules and regulations.
In addition to continuing to look at recommendations from agencies for particular cuts, the governor made some specific recommendations to his budget. Not only were there recommendations for emergency funding to allow for emergency borrowing authority from the rainy day fund, but the governor also supported the Department of Agriculture, specifically recommending nearly $1 million to the Wyoming State Fair. In addition, he proposed additional funding to accommodate the large cuts that were made to the Department of Health, and recommended salary increases to help with staff issues in the Department of Corrections.
The biggest challenge moving forward, he says, is figuring out long-term funding for education. The governor says borrowing from the rainy day fund is only a short-term fix and needs to be addressed this session. Governor Mead said, "The executive branch has an important role in that, our K-12 community, our parents and the state of Wyoming all need to engage in that discussion."
For more information and a closer look at the governor's budget, click the following