By Staff – 2 Nov ’14
Governor Matt Mead presented a $156 million supplemental budget recommendation on Monday, and emphasized the need for a thoughtful discussion about Wyoming’s fiscal policy.
“We have more than adequate resources to fund government operations; invest in infrastructure and excellence at the University of Wyoming and community colleges; and provide additional resources to local government,” Governor Mead said today.
Governor Mead notes that the state’s permanent savings total $6.8 billion in the permanent mineral trust fund and $3 billion in the common School Permanent Land Fund. Liquid savings accounts available for expenditure by the legislature total $5.9 billion. In addition to savings, the legislature may want to identify proceeds for capital gains that have not been included in the fiscal profile. He pointed to reversions from the past biennium of over $100 million as another possible resource.
With these available resources, Governor Mead recommends a budget of approximately $17 million for state government operations. He has recommended $51 million, to be matched by private donations, for research, athletic programs and a high altitude training facility at UW. Governor Mead recommends just over $30 million for local governments.
An additional $21.1 million is recommended for the construction of passing lanes on state highways, and Mead focused specifically on Highway 59 between Douglas and Wright as a top priority.
“The rainy day fund (LSRA) has nearly doubled during my time in office and the Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund has grown by more than 55%. These are remarkable increases,” Governor Mead said. “The state’s CREG forecasts are not able to tell a complete story about state resources. Last year $1 billion flowed to liquid and permanent saving accounts. The FY2014 revenue to the general fund exceeded the CREG forecast by $325 million.”
Governor Mead’s budget message to legislators emphasizes the need to evaluate the state’s fiscal policy and to set the course for the future.
“Revenues are substantial and ongoing expenditures are relatively flat. It is the right time to ask questions and begin to make decisions about the right amounts for saving and the right amount for investments in infrastructure,” Governor Mead said.
The Governor noted that state agencies have demonstrated prudent use of state funds, which accounts for the sizeable reversions that may be available for further appropriation. State agency supplemental requests have been held to approximately $17 million – less than one-half percent of the standard general fund biennial budget.
Governor Mead’s entire Supplemental Budget Message is available on the Wyoming Department of Administration website at https://sites.google.com/a/wyo.gov/ai/budget-division/budget-fiscal-years/2015-2016-budget.