CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK) - The Wyoming Legislature's Revenue Committee is reviewing preliminary data, which indicates the state will see declining revenues for several years and a decline in population and jobs in the near term.
Governor Mark Gordon said the group's modeling showed it is unlikely Wyoming can continue to rely on a combination of coal, natural gas and oil revenues to sustain itself in the long-term.
"The hard truth is, Wyoming faces many external pressures impacting our future and those have often seemed to drive our own economic fate," said Gordon. "There are many economic forces out of our control, including other state and federal policies, market demands and world events. However, there are many ways we can control our destiny to position Wyoming for economic stability — but they require planning and action."
Gordon formally announced the launch of "Power Wyoming" Monday. The planning effort's initial goal is to provide an accurate and comprehensive analysis of the state's revenue scenarios.
One of the first reviews focused on industry and governmental policies impacting energy production. Revenues of jobs from oil, gas, and mining are Wyoming's top economic drivers. The state is also the nation's leading energy exporter.
"Wyoming is blessed to have such incredible energy resources," Gov. Gordon said. "We need to position ourselves to plan for changes in energy production. We have now started the conversation, and I look forward to talking with all citizens about the future of our economy."
Legislative leaders stated Monday that Wyoming now has a solid understanding of the state's changing economic base.
Representative and Committee co-chairman Dan Zwonitzer noted, "We are now faced with difficult policy decisions and decisions about how best to solve our state's structural deficit."
Gordon said "Power Wyoming" will be the first step in the process of tackling the state's revenue shortfalls. Immediate deficits, noted in recent projections, also signal a need for further spending reductions and policy shifts.