By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Despite recent improvements in the Wyoming’s financial outlook, the state still faces some major challenges, Gov. Mark Gordon said Monday.
Gordon’s comments came in response to a report by state fiscal analysts that showed the state’s main bank account, the General Fund, will fall about $451 million short of what is needed to pay for government operations in the current biennium.
The estimate provided by the state’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Group showed a deficit that was $426 million less than what had been estimated in a report issued in May.
However, Gordon said the state still must deal with significant drops in funding.
“I have a fundamental belief that we must live within our means,” he said. “Wyoming suffered its greatest budget shortfall in history this year … By any stretch of the imagination this crisis is unique, but it is real and we must be prepared.”
The report also showed that the state will end its current biennium about $300 million short of what is needed to continue current funding levels for schools.
Gordon earlier this year asked state agencies to cut their budgets by 10% and he said he is still asking agencies to consider further cuts of 10% to make sure state spending stays within its revenues. He noted that the state’s savings will not be sufficient to offset budget shortfalls in the long-term.
“I am not interested in building a budget that just tries to get us to next year,” he said. “Wyoming, if she wants to remain competitive and productive, must live within her means and structure herself for economic opportunity.”