A co-chairman of the Joint Appropriations Committee questioned University of Wyoming officials about their budget request for pay raises.

The committee is reviewing budgets of UW and other government agencies and programs ahead of next month's legislative budget session.

UW President Tom Buchanan and other UW officials presented their proposed budget to the panel on Wednesday.

Republican Sen. Phil Nicholas, of Laramie, questioned the pay raise request for UW employees at a time when falling state revenue will likely mean having to cut overall budgets.

Buchanan says pay raises are the university's top priority for its operating budget because UW employees are in their third year in a row without a pay raise.

He notes that universities in Colorado, Utah and Arizona are offering their employees pay raises this year.