The Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing could lose approximately 210 airmen and four aircrafts from their active duty associate unit sometime after October of this year.
The associate Air Force unit, the 30th Airlift Squadron, would be closed under the President's 2015 budget proposal.
Adjutant General of the Wyoming National Guard, Luke Reiner, says "the 30th Airlift Squadron is a vital component to our national defense and has made the Wyoming Air National guard stronger by its presence."
The Wyoming House of Representatives again discussed whether to provide money to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for health insurance and for management of grizzly bears.
Wednesday the House voted down an attempt to remove the Grizzly funding and Thursday the House defeated an amendment that would have removed health insurance funds. House Floor Leader Kermit Brown says the additional money is needed because lawmakers won't approve license fee increases.
The Wyoming House and Senate approved their versions of the state budget on Friday and will now work on reaching a compromise to send to the Governor. One of the entities that received a lot of attention was the University of Wyoming. Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout said that UW was treated well.
“We made some cuts, that’s what we do. But we gave some endowment money, we are moving ahead on a tier 1 Engineering College, we did the double-A, looking at the Corbett pools, we did that endowed chair for petroleum engineering.”
The Wyoming House and Senate finished up budget work today. Leaders in both bodies say they probably spent more than they should, but they are generally satisfied. Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout says they addressed some important needs including funding for public employee raises and the University of Wyoming. Bebout remains concerned about the future, but he says this budget is more encouraging than past ones.
Wyoming lawmakers are voting on the state budget this week and are considering proposals to strengthen the energy industry in the state.
15 million dollars is proposed for a facility to study the capture, sequestration, and management of carbon emissions from a coal fired power plant. Senator Jim Anderson of Glenrock says it’s important to the future of Wyoming Coal.
“Perhaps bring Wyoming into a new era and it would certainly in regard to our reliance on coal and other things that are carbon based be a blessing if in fact we could do this.”
In a letter signed by 16 senators and himself, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi has asked the federal Committee on Appropriations to continue funding the Payments in Lieu of Taxes – or PILT - program. The program contributes money to counties with federal lands within their borders. The payments help make up for what counties lose by not being able to collect taxes on those lands.
Wyoming’s two U.S. Senators plan to vote against a budget compromise that will be taken up by the Senate on Wednesday. Senator Mike Enzi spoke out against the deal on the Senate floor. Enzi says it cuts too little, if anything.
“We talk about how we have reduced the deficit. Reduced the deficit? Yeah, that means we used to be overspending a trillion dollars a year and now we are only overspending $500 billion, which is half a trillion. That’s still overspending,” says Enzi.
Wyoming’s two U-S Senators plan to vote against a budget compromise that will be taken up by the Senate on Wednesday. Senator Mike Enzi spoke out against the deal on the Senate floor. Enzi says it cuts too little...if anything.
“We talk about how we have reduced the deficit. Reduced the deficit? Yeah, that means we used to be overspending a trillion dollars a year and now we are only overspending $500 billion, which is half a trillion. That’s still overspending.”
Last week Wyoming governor Matt Mead released his proposed budget for the next two years. The governor joins us to discuss something he did not recommend and discusses other topics, such as whether he will run for re-election.
In the governor’s budget last week, one area that didn’t get a lot of attention is a proposal to increase funding to communities and counties by $175 million. That would be a $40 million increase over his previous proposal. 40 percent of that money would go for infrastructure, such as roads, but the rest would go into operations. If approved, it would come at a time when most local governments are dealing with less revenue. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.
BOB BECK: Governor Matt Mead says he’s tried to make local government funding a priority since he took office.
The main revenue forecasting arm for the state of Wyoming called 2013 a solid year economically. Thanks to investments it means the state raised almost 350 million dollars over projections. But the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group or CREG says while this is great news, problems may be on the horizon. The legislative committee tasked with developing the state’s budget wants to be cautious. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports…
After a lengthy discussion, the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee voted to support a two-percent external cost adjustment for public schools.
The external cost adjustment would address inflation issues within the school funding model, and is used by most districts to pay for salary increases. Lawmakers have been reluctant to support an ECA over the last several years due to budget concerns, and the appropriations committee was told that spending for education in Wyoming remains among the top 10 in the country.
The University of Wyoming has not given a pay raise to its faculty and staff in four years now and the board of trustees is concerned that scrimping on salaries has begun to adversely affect the education the university offers. David Bostrom, the president of the UW Board of Trustees, says that employee salaries don’t just need to compete state-wide but must also compete nationally and internationally within their fields.
The Riverton Circuit Court is stationed in a small, pre-fab building with thin walls. After a bullet was shot from outside the building into the courtroom last summer, Fremont County stationed industrial shipping containers around the building to protect it. The Fremont County Board of Commissioners has requested funding from the State Loan and Investments Board to build a new circuit court facility.
Cheyenne Regional Airport could lose its air tower as a result of the federal sequester. The Federal Aviation Administration is losing funding for 100 towers nationwide, each of which serve airports with a limited number of flights.
David Haring is director of aviation at the airport. He says the airport will continue to operate… but losing the air tower is a big deal, because it’s an important safety tool.
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has line item vetoed three areas of the state supplemental budget. The governor vetoed a section that involved the management of surplus state money and he vetoed a section that required state agencies to consider more budget cuts. Mead says it doesn’t make sense for agencies to re-do that exercise, especially since it’s possible that the state may get more revenue.
The Wyoming House and Senate have reached a budget agreement on a $78 million supplemental budget and will send it to the Governor for his consideration. While there was no discussion in the Senate, several representatives in the House were concerned that instead of cutting government…the legislature is spending more. But House Appropriations Chairman Steve Harshman says most of the money is one-time spending.
State lawmakers have started reviewing the proposed supplemental state budget. The budget features an average of six and a half percent cuts and limits new spending.
House Appropriations Chairman Steve Harshman says the legislature will have some money that can be added to the budget if needed.
“So after accounting for other bills with appropriations in them, today there is 13 million dollars on the table for saving or spending. And the smallest supplemental budget in a decade…in ten years…in terms of expenditures.”
The legislative panel responsible for drafting a supplemental Wyoming state budget bill recommends that lawmakers reject Gov. Matt Mead's proposal to cut the flow of energy revenues going into permanent savings and school construction.
Mead wants Wyoming to build up its so-called rainy day fund in case the state needs ready cash to deal with projected flat energy revenues in the years to come.
As the legislature considers cutting budgets next month, some members are taking issue with comments that the state has doubled its budget over the last ten years. Incoming House Appropriations Chairman Steve Harshman says the state spent money on things ranging from the Hathaway Scholarship to improving neglected infrastructure across the state. Harshman says some of that spending also went into funds that should help the state in future years.
Last week, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead released his proposed budget and he will present that budget to the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee on Monday. The budget features some cuts and a couple of policy decisions. The Governor joins us now.
This week Governor Matt Mead is submitting his proposed budget to Wyoming legislators. The budget will include some spending priorities, but will also feature a wide range of budget cuts, some as high as eight percent. K-12 education has been viewed by lawmakers as untouchable due to the fact that the state lost an expensive lawsuit over school funding. But Mead believes some adjustments can be made in the amount of spending that goes into new schools.
Wyoming leaders are shell-shocked after learning that Congress has arranged to take hundreds of millions of dollars money from the Abandoned Mine Lands program to fund a federal transportation bill.
Wyoming coal producers have paid $2.9 billion into the program, and the state was guaranteed $1.9 billion back for reclamation efforts. The cut would reduce Wyoming’s share by about 700 million dollars over the next decade. That money is used for a variety of projects.