Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says all state agencies should be prepared to cut budgets by eight percent next year. Falling natural gas prices are to blame. Wyoming House Appropriations Chairman Rosie Berger said it’s due to Wyoming having a minerals based economy. When natural gas prices drop, the state loses millions. Berger said the good news is that agency heads have awhile to prepare.
“I think they were relieved to have a year’s time to analyze their budget to take charge of their agency and look at where they could make responsible reductions and still operate with efficiency’s that are needed for the public.”
The Governor is also putting a cap on hiring and is warning agencies to be prepared for more cuts in the future. He said the cuts would equal $74-point-five million dollars. The legislature had already asked state agencies to prepare for cuts between four and eight percent. Berger said a warm winter and spring have dropped prices further than anyone expected.
“I don’t think anyone anticipated the gas prices to go this low, but you know that is why we were adamant about not doing salary increases because of the anticipation that something could go awry.”
Berger said agency heads have been preparing for potential cuts, so they should have thoughtful recommendations on how to more efficiently provide state services.