Governor Matt Mead says low natural gas prices and a declining revenue forecast was behind his thinking in denying pay hikes for state, University of Wyoming and Community College employees this year. Mead was concerned about committing to a long term spending item and thought that it was wiser for the state to focus on one time spending.
“What we don’t want to do is we don’t want to raise salaries and then ultimately have to start laying people off. That is a worst case scenario. I’m not saying we are there yet, but I think that is the concern is that if we can’t afford it, if we go down to two dollar gas or below 2 dollar gas as some are predicting, that if we give raises what we are ultimately going to do is begin laying people off.”
Mead says he does not believe that the state is headed for another bust, but he is worried about what the revenue picture will look like in a couple of years. Wyoming is attempting to operate with a budget of three point seven billion dollars in the next two years, which would be a flat budget.