state of the state

Governor Matt Mead said that Wyoming is strong and getting stronger.  During his annual State of the State address before the legislature, Mead urged lawmakers to invest in Wyoming.

"This investment should include increased support for local government, funding to complete a unified network, increased funding for school and courtroom security, for the elderly and those with developmental disabilities and for upgrading state institutions and facilities.  Pay raises for teachers,UW, and other state employees."

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead says he believes the state is in good shape going into the legislative budget session that starts next week.

Mead's State of the State address will kick off the legislative session that starts Monday in Cheyenne. Lawmakers have set aside four weeks to craft a budget for the two-year funding period that starts July 1.

Mead told The Associated Press today that he's generally satisfied with the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee's recommendations on his budget proposals.

In the State of the State address today, Governor Mead reiterated his proposal to redirect more money from severance taxes into the ‘rainy day account.’ One percent of severance taxes currently goes into the permanent mineral trust fund, but Governor Mead wants it to go into a legislative savings account instead. 

House Minority Leader, Mary Throne, has spoken out against having a rainy day fund so large, noting that it currently contains $5 billion. She says they need to determine how much they actually need to save.

Governor Matt Mead said in his State of the State address Wednesday that lawmakers need to think further about Medicaid expansion in the state and to develop a plan specifically for Wyoming. Department of Health Director, Tom Forslund, said the state would save about $50 million over six years under a full expansion.

House Majority Floor leader Kermit Brown says there are still too many unknowns in the federal rules for the Affordable Care Act that could hurt Wyoming.

Governor Matt Mead is urging legislators not to dismiss health care issues, but to study them and craft a Wyoming response to the Affordable Care Act.  During his state of the state message today, Mead asked legislators to study both the health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion. 

Gov. Matt Mead is set to deliver his annual State of the State address to lawmakers in Cheyenne on this morning.

Mead is presiding over Wyoming at a time of transition. State financial analysts warn state energy revenues are likely to stay flat for years to come.

Mead is proposing 6.5-percent budget cuts for state agencies, not counting one-time project funding. The cuts amount to more than $60 million over the coming year.

Wyoming Democrats say they were mostly pleased with the governor’s State of the State message. But while they agree the state should be cautious with spending, they don’t favor reductions.  House Minority Floor Leader Pat Goggles wishes Gov. Mead had spent more time on worker safety.  Goggles says it is time get serious about the situation.

“We’d like to see more positions in compliance in terms of worker safety and work to change the culture of safety,” says Goggles.

During his state of the state message Governor Matt Mead said that Wyoming is doing well.  He said Wyoming does not have the severe budget constraints that other statesface, but that a downturn in projected revenue means that the state has to curb its spending.

“I have not recommended deep across the board cuts to agencies,” Mead said. “Instead I used a targeted approach identifying those areas where we could slow or even reduce growth.  Some cuts have been made, but we should distinguish between cuts and reducing growth.  There is a real difference.”

Governor Matt Mead says he will try and stay upbeat when he gives his State of the State message Monday morning.    While the state has over a billion dollars in reserves, the governor is worried about falling gas prices and the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars from the state revenue picture. Those potential losses, along with the fact that Wyoming will also have to make up for the loss of some federal stimulus money has led the governor and legislature to recommend some budget cuts.  The governor recommended against giving State, University and Community College’s pay rais