Governor Matt Mead says he is hopeful that the eight percent budget cuts he requested from state government agencies may not have to happen. But the governor says he is still considering the cuts, despite signs that the state revenue picture may be improving.
The legislature had proposed that all agencies cut budgets by four percent to reduce spending and make up for possible revenue shortfalls. But when gas prices dropped this spring, Governor Mead asked state agencies to consider deeper cuts of eight percent. Greater than expected investment returns and better gas prices have some in the legislature doubting that eight percent cuts will be necessary. Mead wants agencies to be prepared anyway.
“Rather than on midnight ,or the night before, me saying take eight percent off the top…for each agency to take the time to do this the best that they can…we can go backwards, if it’s only seven percent, six percent or four percent, we will be well prepared.”
The Governor admits that the revenue picture is improving, but he also says it’s in flux. But if things truly do improve, he will address that.
“If that turns around, I will be responsive to that the other way. If we have a good enough revenue picture, then we will not ask for that additional four percent. We will ask for the four percent requested by the legislature.”
The next revenue profile for the state is due in October and the Governor plans to submit his proposed budget with recommended cuts at the end of November.