Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced deep budget cuts for the current two-year cycle Monday. Sheridan Media’s Ron Richter has the details.
Governor Gordon approved budget cuts totaling more than $250 million, or nearly 10 percent of the State’s general fund budget. According to Gordon’s office, the budget cuts are in response to projections that show an almost $1 billion shortfall for the general fund and another $500 million for school funding. The budget reductions will include state employees losing their jobs, as well as mandatory furloughs, reduction in major maintenance spending and the consolidation of human resources personnel across state agencies. Governor Gordon said that this is an incredibly difficult task and that the cuts will impact families across the state, will affect the services that the state provides, and will have an effect on dollars that flow into the private sector.
The Governor approved 10% cuts for most state agencies, boards and commissions. The Department of Health, with the state’s largest budget, will see a 9% cut totaling approximately $90 million. He stressed that the impacts of the budget cuts will be felt outside of state government as well. The budget cuts include significant general fund dollars that enter the private sector in the form of contracts, and also mean some services available to the state’s seniors, disabled and low-income residents won’t be available or will be reduced. To help create additional budget savings, the Governor has instituted a mandatory furlough day for six months beginning in August for those executive branch employees on the higher end of the pay scale.
As an additional cost-saving measure, Governor Gordon signed an Executive Order on Friday directing the Director of the Department of Administration and Information (A&I) to coordinate the immediate consolidation of all human resources personnel to be housed under the Department. The process is expected to take several months and will eventually lead to a reduction in state human resources personnel.The budget cuts still leave a forecasted budget shortfall of more than $600 million. The Governor has directed agencies to prepare preliminary proposals to cut an additional 10% from their budgets and submit those concepts to him. He has previously stated that he will be considering a range of options to fund an appropriate level of government services, since merely cutting services will not be enough to address the scope of the shortfall.