Gov. Mead supports gas tax, equivocates on Medicaid expansion
Governor Matt Mead hosted a press conference regarded his proposed state budget, and discussed two hot-button issues: a gas tax and Medicaid expansion.
Mead called on legislators to approve a ten-cent increase in the state gas tax. The tax would raise 71 million dollars of long term stable funding for roads. The governor says the state has not increased the tax in 14 years and the need is great.
“Because if we keep going the way we are, which is 15 million one year, 30 million the next, 100 million the next, it doesn’t allow for long term planning for the Department of Transportation. If they cannot do long term planning, it is costly.”
A legislative committee will vote Monday on whether to sponsor a bill to increase the tax. Wyoming has the lowest gas tax in the country. Governor Mead discussed the issue while proposing a cut of 60 million dollars from the state budget.
Mead also says he opposes a federal proposal to expand the Wyoming Medicaid program. The governor expressed concerns about the federal government’s ability to fund the program in the future and about the mixed information over whether the expansion will cost or save the state money.
“The question is if I was asked today would I do Medicaid expansion my answer is no. Partly because these questions aren’t answered. Partly because there is a fiscal impact and the legislature has to be involved in it. But is my answer a final answer? It is not a final answer.”
The governor says he could change his mind if he got more information from the federal government. Mead also announced that he is proposing a cut of over 60 million dollars to the state budget.