Guest Column: Wyoming Republicans Are Focused on Pocketbook Issues

In a guest column, Wyoming's Legislative Majority writes: "[We are] focused on the pocketbook and dinner table issues affecting Wyomings hardworking men and women. And we wont let dug-in, out-of-state forces distract us from advancing commonsense legislation."

Sen. Jim Anderson

January 30, 20234 min read

Collage Maker 30 Jan 2023 11 29 AM

By Senators Jim Anderson, Brian Boner, Ed Cooper, Dan Dockstader and Representatives Don Burkhart, and Bill Henderson

This week, the Wyoming Senate and House entered the third week of the 67th General Session. This is a rubber-meets-road juncture of sorts, where lawmakers will begin to prioritize the bills that will take up the bodies’ most earnest debate and policymaking.

It won’t surprise many that a resolution to phase out electric vehicle sales by 2035—Senate Joint Resolution 4, which we proudly sponsored and co-sponsored—won’t be heard by the Committee of the Whole. That was never the point. This legislation was meant to call out the hypocrisy of progressive ideologues, who have sought to prop up the electric vehicle industry (EV) at the expense of taxpayers and Western energy producers.

In that regard, the resolution achieved its purpose. Major national news outlets, including the likes of USA Today, The Hill and Fox News, shined a light on what’s often ignored in the narrative around this far-left darling. That is, that there’s no magic switch to turn on EVs and turn off traditional energy, many states lack EV infrastructure to achieve unrealistic mandates, and policymakers in places like Wyoming are willing to fight to re-level the playing field.

It’s no secret that the Biden Administration and a collective of progressive governors have tried to stop U.S. oil and gas production. Many readers will remember President Biden’s drilling ban on federal land, which, according to a University of Wyoming study, could cost more than $19 billion in lost wages, $43 billion of lost economic activity, $10 billion of lost tax revenue and the loss of over 72,000 jobs per year. Meanwhile, electric vehicle projects have received nearly $14 billion of subsidies in recent years. 

Those losses fall heaviest on states like Wyoming, which have and continue to help secure our country’s energy security. The Cowboy State generated over $1.6 billion from energy production on federal lands in 2021, the second highest in the nation. Over 28,000 jobs—about one-sixth of Wyoming’s workforce—and a quarter of state GDP was supported by our oil and gas industry in 2019. 

Few people doubt the potential value of cleaner vehicles, including us. But should those be forced on families that are working hard to make ends meet, especially as they face down ballooning inflation and a looming recession? Electric vehicles cost, on average, $18,000 more than internal-combustion vehicles. A report last year found EVs cost as much as 50% more per mile than gas vehicles.   

Further, this resolution is as much about oil and gas as it is about the power grid. From a practical perspective, we have yet to see a plan from California and the other states banning internal combustion engines outlining how the new demand for the electricity required to run electric vehicles will be met. Rather than following California’s Luddite approach of banning technologies disfavored by the woke left, the Wyoming Legislature is focused on innovation and technology, including cleaner uses for coal and natural gas.  

This all points to a larger picture: The Wyoming Legislative Majority is that improves the lives of our constituents. 

To be sure, there is a lot of work to be done—and a lot of opportunity to make a difference. 

The Legislative Majority is committed to tackling skyrocketing property taxes, which are driving out long-time residents and making homeownership even more unattainable for many. Already, the Legislature has fully funded $5 million for the Property Tax Refund Program in the Supplemental Budget, which will be debated in the coming weeks.

We are focused on creating economic opportunity and diversifying our economy. Bills being crafted now run the gamut from making it easier for local food producers to sell their products to creating opportunity for the rare earth elements industry to significantly expand operations in Wyoming.

These measures are just the tip of the iceberg. What voters can count on is this: the Republican Majority is keenly focused on the issues that affect families when they balance their checkbooks, when they buy food, when they send their kids to school, and when they consider their futures. And we are steadfast in our resolve to push ahead with good ideas and good policy that make a difference in their daily lives—not high-minded political dogma that ignores our realities here in Wyoming.

Senator Jim Anderson represents Senate District 28.
Senator Brian Boner represents Senate District 2.
Senator Ed Cooper represents Senate District 20.
Senator Dan Dockstader represents Senate District S16.
Representative Donald Burkhart represents House District 15.
Representative Bill Henderson represents House District 41.

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Sen. Jim Anderson