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Wyoming implements deep budget cuts

Governor Mark Gordon
Governor Mark Gordon addresses Wednesday news conference.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK)-Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has finalized the first round of state budget cuts.  

The first wave will reduce state spending by $250 million, with an additional $80 million in cuts to maintenance of state buildings and those at the university and community colleges.

Stage agencies, boards, and commissions will take a 10% cut that will likely impact services people depend on.  It will also reduce general fund dollars that normally enter the private sector.

Pointing out that this was just the first round of cuts, Gordon said the Department of Health would shoulder a 9% cut, totaling around $90 million. The cuts will affect senior citizens, disabled individuals, and those with very low incomes.

The cuts will eliminate funding for childhood immunization, the Wyoming Home Services program, aging programs, and deep reductions for early childhood developmental and educational programs.

The University of Wyoming and community colleges’ budgets were cut by 10%.  Gordon said more cuts are likely, which will reduce higher education options for Wyoming students. 

The Governor’s own Wyoming Works initiative, designed to enhance the state’s workforce, was also cut.

The Department of Family Services will eliminate vacant positions at state and field offices across the state.   The cuts will range from foster care and child protection to elimination of a state financed $500 payment to funeral homes for indigent burial costs.

“These cuts that we have made are devastating, but necessary given the state’s fiscal picture,” Governor Gordon said. “A third of our revenue has dried up since the beginning of the year. I am Constitutionally required to balance the budget. Our state cannot deficit spend the way the Federal Government can. Just to manage this crisis, difficult decisions had to be made.”

The state still faces a $500 million shortfall.   State agencies have already developed proposals for further cuts and the Governor is working with legislators to explore other options.

You can review the specific agency cuts here.

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