Governor recommends conservative state spending
by Governor Freudenthal's office
November 29, 2008
(Cheyenne) Gov. Dave Freudenthal's supplemental budget proposes appropriating $440 million in existing carry-over revenues, rather than relying on estimates of future revenues.
In his Supplemental Budget Recommendations released this week to the Wyoming Legislature, the Governor said the state has the current financial capacity to make calculated, one-time expenditures for investment in the state and its citizens. He also emphasized the likelihood that revenue projections would be adjusted downward in January.
"Wyoming is not immune to the national recession," Freudenthal wrote. "The downturn is impacting public sector wealth and income just as it is impacting our businesses and citizens. Relative to other states and regions, we cannot but be thankful for our circumstance."
The Governor's budget recommendations are now available, in addition to a letter he wrote to legislators and state agency directors, on the Governor"s Web site: http://governor.wy.gov. The Supplemental State Budget is also now available in its entirety online: http://ai.state.wy.us/budget.
The Governor proposes spending $440 million of the $507 million in carry-over from the 2007-2008 biennium. The $507 million is cash in hand. Excluding capital construction, he recommends appropriations including $174.49 million in one-time expenditures, and $58.27 in recurring expenditures. Among his recommendations are:
- $39 million to fund one year of the Homestead Exemption, an existing but unfunded program that would apply to owner-occupied residences with a market value of $237,000 or less. It would exempt from taxation the first $5,000 of taxable value.
- $50 million for highway construction and an additional $7 million for airport projects.
- $81 million for local governments.
- $16 million to complete the startup of the new Torrington prison, and 158 new positions for the facility which is expected to house prisoners beginning in 2010.
- $20 million for near-term water development projects and $100 million that would be earmarked for the Gillette water project at the end of the biennium.
- $10 million to address state employee salaries that are currently below market.
- $30 million in Abandoned Mine Lands funds to the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources for the partnership with GE on the High Plains Gasification Advanced Technology Center.
In a letter to legislators and agency directors, the Governor emphasized that he expects revenues to be downgraded by the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group in January. He asked agency directors to examine their existing budgets and their supplemental requests to prepare for such a circumstance.
"Given these exceptional circumstances, I am directing agency directors to prepare for the contingency that I may have to reduce budget levels from those authorized in either the 2009-2010 Biennial Budget or the upcoming 2010 Supplemental Budget, and would ask that they prepare to share their plans for such an eventuality," he said.