By Bob Geha, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s economy and its people are strong. That is the central message of Gov Mark Gordon’s second State of the State address.
The governor delivered his speech to a joint session of the Wyoming Legislature Monday morning kicking off the 2020 Budget Session.
“We are strong because of our people,” Gov. Gordon said. “We are strong because we have planned well for challenging times. We are strong because of industries: energy, tourism, agriculture, and the emerging sectors of knowledge-based business and manufacturing.”
The governor said the time has come to have a serious conversation about the budget and the future of state revenues.
“We have savings,” he said. “This means we have time. Not a lot of time. But time to make thoughtful decisions about our future and our budget.”
“The budget I presented you which the Joint Appropriations Committee passed was intended to trigger a serious conversation about future. Ways to diversity our economy and ways to strengthen our state.”
Meanwhile, the governor is pushing for bonuses for state employees. He is proposing one time funding of $20 million and speaks to the value of the state’s workforce.
“We continually need to train new employees who then become better candidates for positions in other states with better pay scales,” he said. “This is unacceptably expensive and it is very costly. We should be thinking about keeping the people who know what to do and how to do it.”
Gov Gordon was very vocal about the global pushback on fossil fuels which have driven Wyoming’s economy for so many years.
“We produce better energy more safely and more attention to the environment than anywhere else on the planet. And yet our industries are still discriminated against, maligned, and decried as dead,” he said. “Well, not on my watch.”
And the couple hundred million will have to come out of savings to make up the shortfall in education funding.
At the same time, the state will look at readjusting the K-12 funding model.
The governor is also asking the legislature to cut back on capital construction.
Robert Geha, Cowboy State Daily