Breaking News: Wyoming Governor Orders Further Cuts to State Spending
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has instructed state agencies to immediately slash spending and prepare for deeper cuts in the months ahead, according to a statement from his office.
"We are in uncharted territory," Gordon said. “We have just experienced the largest loss of income in our history just four years after our second largest loss of income. But, even if every state employee was let go, or if we closed the prisons, eliminated all money going to the courts, and stopped funding persons with disabilities, we would still run out of funds at the end of the biennium.”
The next step in Gordon's plan calls for state agency directors to identify programs for elimination by July 1, likely resulting in state employees losing their jobs.
“Wyoming depends on energy production to fund its government and has for decades,” Gordon said. “But our coal revenues are down 25 percent and will continue to decline. Projected oil revenues have dropped more than 50 percent in three months. Gas is selling for 1970-level prices and there is no new production. Compounding this, sales tax revenues (also largely driven by mineral development) are in steep decline.”
Gordon also warned the state's revenue situation could deteriorate further, and state agencies should prepare for more drastic scenarios.
The executive and legislative branches will work closely to implement the reduction plan.
Gordon has already imposed a hiring freeze and limited large contracts.
But Gordon acknowledged Thursday that cuts alone won't solve Wyoming's budget issues. Other funding will likely be sought, and the state may tap the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account -- also known as the 'rainy day fund' -- as well as teh Special Investment and Projects Account.