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Wyoming projects new state budget will be built without cuts

Steven Girt/GirtCommunications

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A state official in Wyoming has said the 2022-2023 state budget will be developed without cuts thanks to improved revenue projections made public last week.

Michael Pearlman, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Mark Gordon's office, said Friday there will be zero reductions to the general fund and the budget reserve account, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

The announcement came on the heels of a string of budget cuts in the past year that stemmed from the pandemic and a downturn in the energy industry.

State officials determined there would be no cuts after a report by the state's Consensus Revenue Estimating Group released in January was informally updated to show the state has more money than previously projected. The group is tasked with developing projections each year for the state's main source of income.

The update on Thursday was not an official report amendment but is a conservative indicator, officials said. It showed Wyoming's general fund budget exceeds the January projection by 4.6% or $45.5 million, and the budget reserve account exceeds the January projection by 16.2% or $25.7 million.

"Almost all revenue sources are exceeding January expectations," said Don Richards, co-chair of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group.

Some state leaders have cautioned against the early estimate.

"It's not like everything's fixed or anything, but it gives us more breathing room. You know, we still haven't figured out the education funding issue and that's going to be the big thing," said Republican state Sen. Cale Case, chairman of the Revenue Committee.

Pearlman also noted that the informal update does not reflect the impact the federal moratorium on new oil and gas drilling leases will have on the budget.

Gordon will next present his 2022-23 budget proposal to legislators this fall. The Legislature will then hold a month-long session devoted mainly to the budget early next year.

Associated Press


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