Laramie, Wyo. – Wyoming Governor Matt Mead delivered his first State of the State address to a joint session of the Wyoming Legislature this morning. Mead advocated a conservative approach to spending, and focused primarily on the state economy, business development, education, and health care.
He also voiced his support for a plan that's stirred up controversy among state legislators: Mead said that cities, towns and counties need additional revenue, and the state should divert a portion of the minerals' severance tax to provide that funding. He made this pitch to lawmakers: "In making your decision, remember just as some of you view the federal government with a skeptical eye, so too does a city council member look at Wyoming's capital," he said. "Do we trust local governments in the way we would ask Congress to trust us? We should."
Mead wants lawmakers to agree to divert one half of one percent of the mineral severance tax, and divide that amount equally between local government, highways and the state's rainy day fund. He said projections show that diversion of money would give each of the recipient categories about $50 million during each two-year budget cycle. Mead asked the legislature make a commitment to provide that funding long-term, for seven years, with a sunset provision in 2018.