Wyoming Treasurer Urges Caution On Future Spending
Wyoming Treasurer Mark Gordon says he is seeing some hopeful signs for Wyoming's economy.
But he is also warning people about the dangers of getting carried away with spending once things do improve,
While he says Wyoming "has had a tough go of it" and "is having a hard time," Gordon also says he is hearing reports from railroad officials that "we are moving a lot more coal" recently.
He also says President Trump's recent decision to cancel an Obama administration moratorium on coal mining on federal lands means Wyoming should be seeing more coal lease bonus money.
He says of the state's economic downturn "It's leveling out a little bit. It's getting a little bit better." He also notes the state's trust funds "are pretty full. We just passed $20 billion dollars." But the treasurer also says it's important that state and local officials don't get carried away by the glimmers of hope and start overspending because of it.
The Treasurer says of past spending policies in the state "We were on a little bit of a tear the past 12 years or so." Gordon says in the early 2000s there were a lot of concerns about paying for state government operations and even some consideration of a state income tax.
But he says then coal bed methane "pulled our fat out of the fire and away we went."
He says this led to a situation where the legislature obligated the state to future spending without knowing if the money would still be coming in. He cites the Capitol Renovation Project as one example of this policy, adding "unfortunately that has caught us right now."