As Wyoming conservatives, there are certain beliefs that define us. For example, we believe in protecting human life from beginning to end. We believe that we should be involved in all decisions regarding our children, including the choice of where they attend school. We believe in limited government and responsible taxation of our citizens. Finally, we believe that the best government decisions are made by those elected officials closest to the people.
As Wyoming conservatives, we are also optimistic. We trust that all conservatives in the Wyoming Legislature can come together to forward a set of ideals based on this conservative philosophy that will solve some of the major problems facing our great state. To that end, we are asking all of our legislative colleagues to join us in a Conservative Commitment to Wyoming and support the following legislative proposals when we return to Cheyenne in February. This Conservative Commitment will tackle the most important issues facing our State:
1. Property Tax Reform and Relief – Wyomingites are concerned about their property taxes and for good reason. Many citizens’ taxes have doubled in the last two years. This is not a sustainable path. To solve this problem, we are proposing a 5% annual cap on residential property taxes. You will never again face a surprise property tax bill and your taxes will not increase simply because your neighbor overpaid for a house. This will put a stop to the sky-rocketing property taxes for all homeowners in Wyoming. We also look forward to the discussion of ideas to give additional relief to Wyoming families such as expansion of the property tax refund program and a homeowner’s exemption.
2. Educational Savings Accounts – the Joint Education Committee has passed an educational savings account bill on to the full Legislature for consideration in February. Also known as a voucher bill, this proposed legislation will provide parents a true choice in where they send their children for school. At the same time, due to the creative ideas contained within the draft language, this bill will protect the integrity of the public education system and provide funding for early childhood education.
3. Parental Rights in Education – the Joint Education Committee also voted to forward a parental rights bill on to the whole body. This bill ensures that parents are informed and allowed to engage in all issues pertaining to their children and their education.
4. Suicide Prevention and Mental Health – Wyoming has made positive strides in suicide prevention in the last year. We are no longer the number one state for suicide per capita. However, we have a long way to go. We must continue to dedicate adequate resources to taking care of our neighbors and providing the mental health services for all in need. There will be several proposals on this front during the session.
5. Electricity Costs – Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed electric utility increase of 29.2% in Wyoming is unacceptable. We need to make sure that electric generation, electric transmission and electric rates are planned in the best of Wyoming and not the liberal states on the West coast. The Joint Corporations Committee has several ideas to address this problem and we need to support them. It is time that Wyoming takes a stand. The illogical and costly decisions of government officials in Oregon and Washington should not cost us a dime.
The Conservative Commitment to Wyoming provides a foundation to solve the most pressing issues facing Wyoming today. By focusing on those things that bring us together, and our common conservative beliefs, we can move Wyoming in a positive direction based on our shared conservative values. We are calling on all conservative legislators in the Wyoming legislature to join in this Conservative Commitment, commit to working collaboratively, and bring real Wyoming solutions to Wyoming’s problems.
Representatives Clark Stith and Barry Crago
Speaker Pro Tempore Clark Stith represents House District 48
Rep. Barry Crago represents House District 40