As the Legislature irons out the final details of the State budget, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee says lawmakers were forward-thinking with the budget.
During a news conference, Senator Eli Bebout of Riverton said the spending reductions and cuts to some agencies were needed to get the budget in shape for future spending.
Some have been critical of lawmakers for continuing to pile money into the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund. Severance tax money and legislative money go into the fund. Income from the fund is used to help bankroll state government.
Bebout says that as government gets more expensive, the fund needs to grow. That’s why he resisted attempts to divert money away from the fund.
“You know in the tough times we had in the 90’s that accounted for about 25 percent of our revenues for our general fund. That has gone down to as low as 15 percent in recent years,” Bebout says. “We need to get that back up to 25 percent. How do we do that? We need to continue to build the Wyoming Permanent Mineral Trust fund.”
Cheyenne Democrat Mary Throne and others have argued that the state could have diverted money this session and spared agencies some budget cuts.