(Cheyenne, Wyo.) — The Majority of the Wyoming State Legislature outlined plans today to deliver a smart, responsible budget that invests in Wyoming’s local communities, workforce and future.
The 62nd Wyoming State Legislative session kicked-off today with a bi-partisan press conference focused on the budget, capitol restoration, infrastructure investments, and protecting and enhancing Wyoming’s extractive industries.
The legislative session will focus on producing a conservative budget that keeps Wyoming fiscally sound and economically dynamic. The proposed Fiscal Year 2015/2016 budget holds the line on spending while making targeted investments for the state’s future.
“Our focus is on Wyoming’s future – protecting our finances, growing job opportunities and giving our local communities the resources they need to prosper for years to come,” said Senate President Tony Ross.
Lawmakers credited good fiscal management for not having to make sharp budget cuts this year, but cautioned against increased spending.
“The reason our state is in the financial position we are is because the legislature has consistently been good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Eli Bebout. “Now is not the time to change course.”
This morning Governor Mead delivered his annual State of the State Address to a Joint Session of the Wyoming Senate and House of Representatives. Legislators applauded Governor Mead’s leadership in delivering a sound budget to the legislature.
“We look forward to working with Governor Mead in the coming weeks and delivering a budget that prepares Wyoming to be a player in the world economy,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Rosie Berger.
Another top priority for lawmakers is the restoration and renovation of the State Capitol. The Capitol is nearly 130 years old and in dire need of repair. In its current state, the Capitol is vulnerable to fire and fails to meet a number of important safety codes. In addition to safety concerns, essential updates and repairs are needed to maintain several historic features of the building.
“The Capitol is a symbol of our state and a part of Wyoming’s history, a part worth preserving,” said Ross. “Ensuring the public has adequate access to the State Capitol and legislative process is essential.”
The legislature has been planning to restore and renovate the Capitol for nearly a decade, putting aside millions of dollars for the work.
With the aim of ensuring steady revenues going forward, legislators reiterated their commitment to protecting and promoting Wyoming’s mining industry. Among other energy-focused efforts, plans are underway for a study of an energy mega-campus designed to be a one-stop shop for commercial scale industries in Wyoming. Modeled on the Alberta Canada Nisku Industrial Park, this project will help Wyoming move away from export reliance and into a value-added economy.
“The health of our extractive industries has a direct and immediate impact on our ability to fund programs and needs across the state, and keep individual taxes low,” said Lubnau. “Ensuring a viable future for the mining sector is our responsibility and essential to a fiscally sound future.“
–From the Office of State Representative Rosie Berger, House Speaker Pro Tempore