(State Senators Eli Bebout, left, and Cale Case spoke to WACO this morning. Joshua Scheer photo)
(Lander, Wyo.) – The Wyoming Association of County Officers this morning got a glimpse into the state’s budget thanks to a presentation made by Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, and Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander.
Bebout spent some time displaying graphs that showed not only growth in state spending but also growth in support to local counties, cities and towns.
Local government support maxed out in recent years at $450 million in 2009-10 and has leveled out the last couple years at about $155 million. Bebout said since the 2005-06 budget, the state has provided $1.45 billion in funds to local governments.
The current budget, Bebout said, is the first time in a decade that Wyoming’s government has shrunk. He said 88 positions were eliminated, with most of those being already vacant jobs. He said only a small amount of layoffs occurred, but he did not give a number.
The state, this year, cut $62 million. Bebout, as did Gov. Matt Mead earlier in the day, raised concerns with what he called a federal “overreach” on coal issues and declining natural gas prices.
He said overall, the funding situation for the state looks relatively static through Fiscal Year 2015-16 but projects show sharp declines coming afterward.
Case mentioned briefly a couple of initiatives he foresees the legislature tackling in the coming session. He said there is a proposed bill that would cut the amount of legal notices required to be published in newspaper, which he said would save tax payer money. Another suggestion on the issue would be to get small municipalities that might not have a website to post information on to partner with the county to use a page on their site.