The Wyoming House and Senate have begun discussing the 3-point-2 billion dollar state budget. It will cover a biennium, or the next two fiscal years. House Appropriations Chairman Rosie Berger says they are trying to pass a flat budget this year and limit future spending. Senate Appropriations Chairman Phil Nicholas says agencies will be asked to reduce their budgets by four percent in the second year of the biennium and another four percent in the following year.
“In effect what we are saying is that you can’t have salary increases or things like that unless you reduce your expenditures. Because our revenues are going to be static and we’re going to have to plateau these for some time. So that is the concern and that is why we are talking about alerting folks to that issue.”
Nicholas told the Senate that there is 15 million dollars in the budget for additional spending. He adds that they might soon need to address the loss of nearly 40 million dollars in federal money for mandated Medicaid programs. Senator Charles Scott indicated that Medicaid is a long term problem that the Labor, Health and Social Services committee will be working on over the interim.