Governor Matt Mead’s proposed budget was met with mostly positive reaction from members of the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee.
Mead presented his budget to the committee Monday and said that he wants to eliminate a number of vacant positions and cut more than $60 million from existing budgets.
Senator John Hastert, a Democrat from Green River, said that the cuts may go too far and aren’t needed. But Recluse Representative Sue Wallis says the cuts actually fall short of the mark. While she praised the governor for studying the budget and for getting the process started, Wallis hopes the full legislature might cut more out of the budget. Wallis said “That’s what we are here for.”
But Casper Republican Steve Harshman, who will become the House Appropriations Committee Chairman in January said that it’s less about cuts and more about holding the line on spending.
“We are not in a position where we need to make drastic cuts, but we need to adjust the trajectory or start flat lining the budget a little bit more.”
The governor told the committee that he is against expanding Medicaid Services to the state and is inclined to let the federal government run an on-line health insurance marketplace called a health insurance exchange. He said the state is not prepared to take on such a task.
The Appropriations Committee will discuss individual agency budgets this week, before the full legislature meets in January.