Mead outlines his 2017 budget priorities
Governor Matt Mead held a press conference yesterday to discuss his supplemental budget for the 2017-2018 biennium. The Legislature will consider the Governor’s recommendations during the upcoming General Session which begins January 10, 2017. The Governor reviewed cuts he has already made due to declining state revenues and discussed the steps being taken to keep Wyoming moving forward.
“Wyoming has prepared for times of reduced revenue and remains fiscally sound,” said Governor Mead. “In June I asked agencies for $249 million in reductions. Those were difficult but necessary cuts. It is worth noting that the executive branch standard budget was $2.9 billion in 2010 and is now $2.589 billion – it has gone down not up,” continued Governor Mead.
The Governor’s budget contains limited exception requests, including $5 million for local government, $500,000 for the University of Wyoming Science Initiative and $2.5 million for Economically Needed Diversification Options for Wyoming (ENDOW). Earlier this month Governor Mead announced the ENDOW initiative. The goal of ENDOW is to bring together key business leaders to help create a strategy for growing and diversifying the state’s economy years into the future.
“We need a strategy that keeps Wyoming moving ahead with diversification efforts long after my term as Governor,” continued Governor Mead. “We have seen success but we need to do more. It is important that we continue to send the message that Wyoming is open for business and open to business diversity.”
Other recommendations in the Governor’s budget include:
- A contingent appropriation of up to $21 million for Title 25 services in the Department of Health.
- Legislatively authorized bonding to cover capital construction costs for the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins.
- A contingent appropriation of $19.2 million to cover the cost of possibly moving inmates in the event of a catastrophic failure at the facility.
Governor Mead emphasized the need to act quickly on the key challenge – school funding. The shortfall in the School Foundation Program Account has been estimated at $1.5 billion over the next six years. The Governor asked legislators to work with him to find a long-term funding solution.
The Governor’s budget message is available on his website: governor.wyo.gov.