WYOMING — Governor Matt Mead released details of his 2017-2018 biennial budget and spending reductions for fiscal year 2016 (FY16). State revenue projections have decreased due to falling oil and natural gas prices and the market and regulatory difficulties faced by the coal industry. Governor Mead asked state agencies to prioritize their budgets and limit exception requests. Exception requests are for urgent needs and special projects beyond the standard budget.
The FY16 revenue shortfall is approximately $159 million. Governor Mead identified unspent appropriations for projects where funds are not immediately necessary and set them aside. By taking this action, he balanced the budget for the current year without drawing any money from elsewhere.
“With the slump in the energy sector, the revenue decline comes as no surprise,” said Governor Mead.
We have prepared well for this situation, and Wyoming has benefitted from a conservative fiscal policy.” – Governor Matt Mead
The Governor’s 2017-2018 budget reduces the standard budget by $18.7 million. With that reduction, there is more than enough revenue available for operating expenses for the next biennium. The budget reflects Governor Mead’s priorities – education, infrastructure, economic drivers and local governments. The Governor proposes borrowing from the rainy day account, which stands at about $1.8 billion, to further these priorities and put Wyoming in a good position to weather the energy downturn. It is projected the account would be made whole with investment income and the statutory diversion by the next biennium. The Governor also recommends expanding Medicaid to help currently uninsured citizens as well as reduce the Department of Health budget.
“My budget incorporates strategic reductions while still providing the services that our citizens rely on and the projects needed for continued growth,” Governor Mead continued. “These are difficult times for many in our state who have personally felt the effects of the depressed energy market. My budget helps local governments satisfy their obligations and invests in long-term economic growth for the state. We have challenges, but I feel confident in our ability to meet those challenges.”