(Wyo)-Mead Delivers Last State Of State Address
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Legislature began its 4-week budget session Monday, highlighted by Gov Matt Mead delivering his 8th and final State of the State Address.
Mead outlined his accomplishments over nearly 2 full terms, especially capping sharp growth in state government, but he also told lawmakers that while they need to be prudent about spending amid a looming budget deficit, they can't afford to neglect efforts to diversify the state's economy.
Mead urged them to keep funding economic diversification efforts while keeping an open mind about reasonable ways to increase revenue, particularly for education, as they craft a two-year budget.
Wyoming faces an $850 million budget shortfall because more than 2/3rds of its revenue comes from taxes on fossil fuel production and those have been dropping amid declining demand for coal and weak prices for oil and natural gas.
Speaker of the House Steve Harshman says the effective shortfall is only about $684-million because of the state's $150-million dollar cash carryover and one-time payments the state received last year.
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