School financing bill moves to Senate

The School Finance Funding Bill – House Bill 173 – passed out of Wyoming’s House of Representatives on third and final reading this week and is now on its way for consideration in the Senate.

In an interview with Sheridan Media Wednesday, Sheridan County’s Representative Mark Kinner said he expects a conference committee will be needed for final resolution of the bill, in part because the House version calls for a half-penny increase in Wyoming’s state sales taxes to help fund education once the state’s rainy day fund falls below a set amount.

Kinner said he doesn’t believe the Senate will accept an increase in sales taxes.

In addition, Kinner said, the House bill proposes cuts in education spending primarily in the area of health insurance reimbursement. He said the bill calls for an $80 million reduction in health insurance reimbursements over a three-year period.

Earlier this year, in a meeting of the Senate Education Committee, Josh Anderson with the Legislative Services Office said the state is looking at a shortfall of around $300 million a year in education funding starting in 2022.

Sheridan Media will have more on House Bill 173 in stories later this week.

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