CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Late last week, Governor Mark Gordon signed a supplemental budget that includes more than $430 million in cuts and maintains the Governor’s commitment that the state continues to live within its means. He complimented the Legislature for taking a fiscally responsible approach and passing a budget bill that aligns closely with the budget he proposed in November.
In a press release, the Governor had this to say…“Despite an epic decline in revenue we were able to maintain some crucial programs while making some modest but integral one-time investments,” the Governor wrote in his budget letter. “The budget does set our state back by eliminating valuable programs and services, and some of the impacts of the cuts we have had to make will be felt by those who are already struggling; but it is our constitutional duty to right-size our government based on revenues.”
Governor Gordon initially proposed cutting state funding by more than $500 million, but the revenue forecast improved in January. The new budget includes the elimination of 324 state positions and reduces the size of state government to its smallest level since the early 2000s.
This budget restores a modest amount of funding to several Wyoming Department of Health programs for seniors, the disabled, low-income residents and those requiring mental health services. It also restores $8 million in funding to the University of Wyoming and the state’s Community Colleges to support the Governor’s Wyoming Innovation Network initiative.
“WIN is an ambitious effort to supercharge all of Wyoming’s post-secondary work by combining the best ideas that can strengthen the state’s workforce, promote entrepreneurship and actively support economic growth and diversification,” the Governor wrote. “I applaud you for giving our higher education system a minor reprieve from deeper cuts for this year.”
The Governor used his authority to issue several line item vetoes, including items that represent substantive lawmaking in the budget bill and those that present separation of powers concerns. He noted that this is the fewest line-item vetoes he has issued since taking office and offered his thanks to the 66th Legislature.