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State Legislature To Focus On Budget

January 7, 2013 State of Wyoming, Teton County No Comments
WY Capitol

The 62nd Wyoming Legislature convenes tomorrow at noon and is to run a maximum of 40 days for the so-called “long session.”  Typically, every other session is dedicated to debate issues being brought before the state’s governing body while the off years are shorter sessions intended to focus on the state’s budget biennium.  However, Teton County Representative Keith Gingery says there will be an inordinate amount of discussion of financial concerns for a non-budget year.  Gingery says the legislature normally takes up only emergency budget issues during a non-budget session and this year that might include the fire account which is $20-million in the red because there were so many fires in 2012.  However, this year, the legislature will be spending quite a lot of time on the budget, he says, addressing concerns that have been reflected in the Governor’s supplemental budget including cuts in different departments.  At the same time, Mead is proposing about $120-million in new encumbrances.  Gingery says the state will see about $90-million dollars of unencumbered money flowing into the state’s coffers which combined with the $60-million in cuts will total $150-million to be budgeted.  Another major issue will involve whether or not Wyoming will opt out of federal Medicaid expansion if the federal government reneges on its support for the program through the Affordable Care Act.  Additionally, the state senate and house gather on Wednesday for Governor Mead’s State of the State Address which will likely include his budget recommendations to create a leaner and more efficient state government, his idea for a permanent, long-term funding source for highway maintenance, and his proposed fiscal policy changes to increase the size of the rainy day fund, which would create more flexibility and stability.

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