Governor Mead Proposes $2.9 Billion Budget for 2019-2020
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead proposed a $2.9 billion dollar state budget for the 2019-2020 biennium in Cheyenne on Thursday.
The Wyoming Legislature will convene a budget session in Cheyenne starting on Feb. 12. The governor said his proposed budget leaves about $24 million in state money ''on the table." His budget includes no additional spending from the state's ''rainy day fund," other than $280 million the legislature appropriated last year to help cover a shortfall in school funding.
The governor added there is still need for a statewide discussion of how to pay for education over the long term. He said that discussion needs to include not only state lawmakers, but also the governor, parents, and others with an interest in how to pay for state schools
The governor said that while state revenues are still tight because of a lagging state economy, the situation has improved somewhat over the course of the year. He said that while improving revenue projections will likely reduce some of the discussion of tax increases that seemed likely a few months ago, he still thinks lawmakers may look into some ways to increase the money coming into state coffers. The state's Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) recently increased its revenue projections for the period by $200 million dollars, mostly due to improvements in energy prices.
He mentioned an increase in lodging taxes and the taxes on tobacco as some specific increases that might be looked at by legislators.
The proposed budget does call for some spending increases, including a $48 million dollar boost in the budget for the Wyoming Department of Health. The governor said he thinks some cuts to social services in Wyoming have gone too far as the state has wrestled with declining revenues.
The governor also is proposing giving local governments across the state $105 million, although he says he would actually like to see that amount increased if possible.
You can read the entire budget proposal here.