Budget/Revenue: Wyoming has had a history of booms and busts. We are currently experiencing an economic bust. Our best and brightest in Wyoming estimate that this economic slump will last 8-10 years. Fortunately, Wyoming has put away savings during the boom years to help us weather this storm. At its height, the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account (LSRA), otherwise known as the Rainy Day Fund, was at $1.81 billion. Unlike Congress, Wyoming is constitutionally bound to have a balanced budget. In order to meet this requirement for the 2017/2018 biennial budget, the legislature had to use $221 million from the LSRA. Of this amount $80 million was used for school capital construction; $105 million was used for counties, cities and towns (local gov’t distributions); and $36 million was used to cover the structural deficit for the general operations of government. The LSRA now has $1.59 billion.
Our total budget for the general appropriations of government is $3.35 billion for the 2017/18 biennium. The budget for K-12 school funding is $1.82 billion. I voted NO on the budget because we didn’t make enough cuts and had a structural deficit (our budgeted amount was more than our revenues) of $36 million. In sum total, Wyoming used about $703 million worth of state savings to produce a balanced budget. Of which $482.6 million was used out of the permanent lands fund holding account (PLFHA) to pay for the shortfall in K-12 education funding. The PLFHA is now at $68.1 million (see Education).
Wyoming has the largest government per capita than any other state in the US. During this period of economic decline we need to reduce the size of government, not raise taxes or use savings to prop it up.
For more information, go to http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LSOWEB/BudgetFiscal/BudgetFiscal.aspx