Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

Proposals for generating new state revenue failed to draw much support from the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee during its meeting this week.


The committee rejected proposals to increase taxes on wind energy and tobacco. A bill that would have introduced a sales tax on services also failed and a proposal to repeal some sales tax exemptions was largely gutted. Of the nine sales tax exemptions considered, the committee voted to keep five of them intact.


Stroock Forum


Every year, a forum in honor of former Ambassador Tom Stroock delves into an issue facing Wyoming. This year the focus will be on sovereign wealth funds such as Wyoming’s permanent mineral trust fund and rainy day accounts.

University of Wyoming


Wyoming President Laurie Nichols started her job on a Monday, the Monday after the Friday when Governor Matt Mead told the UW trustees that they must whack an additional $35 million from the University budget. The state’s fiscal downturn has led to a $41 million cut from the UW budget.

Wikipedia Creative Commons

The City Council in Casper voted to cut the city’s budget by more than a third on Tuesday.

While the cuts do not include any layoffs, Casper City Council member, Bob Hopkins, says there will be a reduction in capital spending, elimination of 23 vacant positions and early retirement for some city employees.

Hopkins says the primary goal of the cuts is to keep public services, like street maintenance and snow plowing, going during the economic downturn.

Wyoming Medical Center Facebook

Wyoming’s current economic decline is beginning to effect the financial wellness of hospitals across the state. Earlier this week, Wyoming Medical Center in Casper announced they would cut 58 positions in order to balance their budget.

Liam Niemeyer

As many local governments are finalizing their budgets for the upcoming year, the city of Laramie is expected to feel the financial crunch happening at the state level.

The city is receiving about $2.2 million less from the state. In response to that, along with stagnant sales tax revenue, the city will eliminate 14 positions from various departments. Those positions include an animal control officer and two officers in the Laramie Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Unit.

Senator Mike Enzi (R)


President Obama and Republicans in Congress are squaring off on the nation’s spending priorities for the year. Wyoming Republicans are proving an especially pointed thorn in President Obama’s side on the final budget he sent to Congress.

Wyoming Legislature

After a week of relative calm, the Wyoming legislative session is about to get a little more heated. Falling energy prices has led to a decline of over 500 million dollars in state revenue.

On Monday, the Wyoming legislature will look at crafting the next two year budget with a series of bills that address topics ranging from general government operations to building projects.  

The latest report from Wyoming’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Group says low oil prices and other factors have increased Wyoming’s current revenue shortfall by 32 million dollars and the shortfall for the next budget cycle by another 46 million. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Local government funding will be among the most debated topics during the upcoming legislative session. Due to a revenue shortfall, Governor Mead has cut funding for local government from 175 million dollars two years ago down to 90 million for the next two years. 

A number of cities and county governments have instituted hiring freezes and are looking at major cuts in an effort to deal with the shortfall. Laramie Democratic Representative Cathy Connolly says that is a massive cut to local government funding and Republican Senator Drew Perkins said it comes at a bad time.

Wyoming Legislature

The legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee has wrapped up its first week of budget hearings. The committee heard from the governor early in the week and has started reviewing agency budgets. The governor wants to eventually divert money going into the state’s permanent mineral trust fund in an effort to keep the state budget where it is. While lawmakers have mixed thoughts on that idea, but they are more concerned that the governor has not given more thought to a major budget threat. 


The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to finalize UW’s 2017-2018 state budget request.

The University is asking the state for about $155 million more dollars to pay for ongoing projects, one-time expenses and campus construction during the two-year period. That’s on top of the more than $200 million dollars UW receives in state appropriations each year.

The Wyoming legislature will begin work on the state supplemental budget next week. 

Lawmakers asked several questions after hearing a two day presentation on the budget. Some are concerned about a lack of new funding for such things as teacher salaries, local government, and some nursing home services. There’s also a reduction in the governor’s request for highway 59 near Gillette. 

But an ongoing concern is over how much of the budget is funded using projected revenue. Senate Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss says that funding model has people nervous.

Wyoming Legislative Service Office

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead presented his 156-million dollar budget to the Joint Appropriations Committee and said that he wants to focus on a number of building projects in an effort to invest in Wyoming.

Mead argued that the state has enough money to pay for his budget, but Casper Representative Tim Stubson says he’s not so sure.

“The governor’s focus on one time spending is appropriate.  I don’t think there will be enough to cover all of his requests as well as legislative priorities, so there’s going to have to be some trimming along the way.”

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."

This week President Barack Obama unveiled his budget, which the Wyoming congressional delegation says would cripple the state's economy. Matt Laslo has the details from Washington. 

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.

creative commons

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 Senators Oppose Budget Deal

Dec 17, 2013

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. 

The photo is courtesy of the Cody chamber of Commerce.

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.

Bob Beck

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. 

UW Trustees request $13M for pay raises

Jul 26, 2013

The University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees decided Friday to ask the state for $13.3 million to cover merit-based raises for faculty and staff.

Former University President Tom Buchanan tried unsuccessfully to secure raises in the past, and Board President David Bostrom says UW is now seeing an “exodus” of high-performing employees.

University of Wyoming

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.

Rebecca Martinez / Wyoming Public Media

The Fremont County Board of Commissioners is hoping the State Loan and Investments Board will approve its application for a $2.6 million dollar grant to build a Riverton justice center.

It would cover half the cost of a new building to house offices for the sheriff and county attorneys, as well as a circuit court.

Riverton Circuit Court Judge Wesley Roberts says the small pre-fab building they’re currently using has long been insufficient.