Wyoming Governor: Revenue Drop Means ‘Tough Decisions’ Ahead
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Cutting back on wasteful spending won't be enough to address budget shortfalls that could result from an ongoing decline in state revenue, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said Tuesday.
A state report released Tuesday forecasts $185 million less revenue for major Wyoming state accounts over the next three years. The nonpartisan Consensus Revenue Estimating Group analysis updating a January forecast comes as Gordon prepares to release his first state budget Nov. 18.
The two-year budget for 2021-2022 will set a course for Wyoming over the next few years, the Republican governor said in a release.
"Wyoming is facing leaner times. We will have to find a few new holes in our belt. This process will not be easy," Gordon said.
This winter, the Wyoming Legislature will meet in a four-week session devoted primarily to the budget. Wyoming officials already have made a series of spending cuts to address declining revenue from the fossil-fuel industries, especially coal and natural gas.
State lawmakers so far have been reluctant to boost revenue through new and higher taxes. Gordon hasn't proposed tax increases yet, but he said the state faces many "tough decisions."
The revenue downturn may be different from previous hard times for Wyoming's minerals-dependent economy, Gordon said.
"This time, I believe we may be experiencing a more fundamental change that will affect how well we can fund government services going forward," Gordon said.
The changes are poised to accelerate, he said.