Guest Column: House Of Reason v. House Of Cards

Rep. Landon Brown writes, "You deserve to know what is happening with the budget bill. The type of wasteful grandstanding is exactly what we despise about our national Congress and now we are seeing it infiltrate Wyoming."

CSD Staff

March 02, 20245 min read

Rep. Landon Brown on Feb 22, 2024
Rep. Landon Brown on Feb 22, 2024 (Matt Idler)

Two days into our budget session there was already talk that we were heading for a special session because there was disagreement with the current budget. Wyoming deserves better.

You also deserve to know what exactly is happening with the budget bill. The type of wasteful grandstanding we are seeing is exactly what we despise about our national Congress and now we are seeing it infiltrate Wyoming. 

Let’s take a look at why we’re headed in that way, how much it will cost, and whether “giving money back to citizens” is really at the crux of the issue.

You may be hearing the  House and Senate budgets were different by roughly $1 billion. 

The truth is that we are not that far off and the items that are different are items that help Wyoming vs. hurting the residents. 

The House of Reason (House of Representatives) passed a budget that increased the base budget by $168 Million and a few of the projects that were added to the budget were funding the 988 suicide hotline with $40 Million into the trust fund, we funded State Capitol Construction projects which include but are not limited to the renovation of the state office building in Riverton, demolition of outdated buildings at the State Hospital in Evanston, and a helibase complex for the Casper airport area. 

Another $15 million we included is for the Military Department to do a land swap so the Wyoming National Guard can train appropriately.

In other words, these projects will support national security, jobs and economic growth in communities across the state – the House of Cards chose to not move forward with any of these projects.

The House of Reason chose to build schools and upkeep all maintenance in our K-12 facilities throughout every county in our state. 

The House of Cards chose to eliminate over $110 Million in construction for schools in Rock Springs, Gillette, Cheyenne, Jackson, Kemmerer, Sundance, Wheatland, Lusk, and Torrington.

Your House of Cards voted to cut these projects and delay the building of these facilities for political reasons – not because it was the right thing to do.

As we have all felt inflationary costs adjust our pocketbooks, so too has the state. 

Over the past 4 years, inflationary costs to run the state have skyrocketed. The House of Reason chose to fund our state fully and ensure your state has the money it needs in order to stay operational without delay. 

Your House of Cards eliminated $33 million dollars in inflationary adjustments which equates to roughly a 3 percent increase of costs – Standard inflation over these past 4 years has actually been 16.9 percent. 

Water is one of Wyoming’s most precious resources.  We all need it and our communities depend on it. 

Your House of Cards voted to eliminate $24 million from drinking water projects and clean water projects. What about those projects in your community? Could your community have benefitted from a new water tower or water treatment system?  

These are just some of the large issues that separate your House of Reason and your House of Cards.

The continued debate between the two houses will be where the magic happens. If we can’t learn to compromise, your legislative body will come back to Cheyenne and charge the state $40,000 a day to be in a special session.

Do you want your tax dollars to be spent on that or would you prefer to have your schools built on time?

Last, your House of Cards has attempted to confuse the general public by shifting the money in one pocket into another in the guise of saving the state money. 

This is patently false and does nothing more than confuse the public and create mistrust in our approach to be transparent with our tax dollars.  

If your Legislature cannot agree to a budget and submit it to the Governor, it will cost $40,000 for a week worth of preparation by your Joint Appropriations Committee, $40,000/day for a minimum of 2 weeks (including weekends) which comes a rough total of $560,000 of tax money to be spent, and that is if the Legislature can develop a budget in a two week period.

It’s clear that trying to give money back to the citizens of Wyoming is not the priority of the Wyoming Senate – your House of Cards. 

Your House of Reason has chosen to put money into your community, into your schools, and build a brighter future for Wyoming. 

Not everyone is up for the work or the fight that needs to happen on behalf of our people and our great state. Rhetoric is much easier than governance. Please remember that come November.

Landon Brown represents House District 9 in Cheyenne

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CSD Staff