Governor’s Proposed Budget Hits Counties Hard
Gov. Matt Mead's proposed budget for 2016-2017 will severely affect cities, towns and counties, according to the president of the Wyoming County Commission Association.
Mead's request for $90 million for local governments marks a 50.8 percent decrease over the last biennium, which was $183 million, Richard Ladwig said in a prepared statement Tuesday.
The Legislature will grapple with the budget during its next session beginning Feb. 8.
Ladwig complimented Mead for some tough decisions on the state level.
Local government officials will need to do the same, he said.
“With revenue down significantly, counties are painfully aware of the difficult choices we all face," Ladwig said.
"As a proven advocate for Wyoming’s communities, we know Governor Mead did the best he could to leave no stone unturned in this request for local government," he said.
"We also know that the legislature has its own priorities," Ladwig said. "You can bet that in every county we will be having frank conversations with legislators to ensure they too turn over every stone to keep Wyoming’s communities strong.”
The proposed $90 million allocation is divided 122 ways among the state's 99 incorporated municipalities and its 23 counties.
The money is used for operational expenses. It cannot be used for salaries or benefits in the cities, towns or counties.
Besides Mead's proposed cuts, local sales tax revenues are down statewide by 14.5 percent over last year. Local property tax will also diminish significantly in many counties next year, too, Ladwig said.