Governor Mead gave his third state of the state address Wednesday morning to a Joint Session of the Wyoming Legislature.
Governor Mead talked about the need for budget cuts now in the face of flat revenues.
He hit on health care, education, a long term funding source for highway maintenance and a change in fiscal policy so more money goes into rainy day funds that can be used in times of strained budgets, but all in all he says Wyoming is doing great.
The state budget has doubled over the last 10 years so the Governor has asked agencies for budget cuts.
Some agencies taking an eight percent cut, others six percent, while the Governor's Office and residence get chopped 10 percent.
To make money more available for rainy seasons, the Governor would like the Legislature to divert the extra one percent of severance taxes that goes into the untouchable minerals trust fund into the rainy day fund. He would also transfer $600 million of coal bonus money from the school land fund to the rainy day fund. Look for a great debate on diverting money from the trust funds as they contribute hundreds of millions of dollars into the state's General Fund. Senate Majority Floor Leader, Phil Nicholas, says we're in a period similar to 1987 through 2000 when the state saw slowing increasing revenues and faster rising expenses. The Legislature put many needs on hold and exhausted its coffee cans of money to get through those lean years.
More introduction of bills and debate tomorrow as the Legislature moves into higher gear.