Wyoming district 29 Rep. Mark Kinner informed listeners of Sheridan Media’s Public Pulse of the severity of the state’s budget.
Due to a collapse in mineral production and sharp declines in sales tax revenues due to COVID-19, Wyoming faces a $1.5 billion decline in state revenue.
Kinner informed listeners that the lion’s share of the decline, approximately $900 million, equates to the cost of employing almost 8,000 government employees in the state, adding context to such a large number.
Although Kinner said he does not support budget cuts across the board, the cost of state funded programs and government staffing strategies are being reexamined, he said.
Gov. Mark Gordon has requested state agencies prepare for possible budget cuts of up to 30% and has placed a hiring freeze on all government agencies, Kinner said.
Many ideas are being explored to help combat the decline, Kinner said during a phone call Gordon expressed interest in working with WYDOT to close state rest areas in close proximity to towns and cities to reduce cost and bring more travelers into Wyoming communities, Kinner said.
The Joint Appropriations Committee will meet online at 8 a.m. June 9.
According to a meeting outline, the committee will cover a wide range of topics including the current budget outlook from legislative and executive staff, local government funding impacts relating to COVID-19 and employee group insurance benefits; including monitoring the funding status, expenditures, and program balances and consideration of the effects of expanding membership to other groups; and leave, compensation and other agency expenses incurred in recent months.
To view the meeting beginning 8 a.m. June 9, visit the Legislature’s website at www.wyoleg.gov.