Governor Mark Gordon has announced deep budget cuts for the current two-year budget cycle totaling more than $250 million, or nearly 10% of the state’s general fund budget. This comes after revenue projections showed an almost $1 billion shortfall for the general fund and another $500 million for school funding. The budget reductions will include state employees losing their jobs, as well as mandatory furloughs, a reduction in major maintenance spending and the consolidation of human resources personnel across state agencies.
“This is an incredibly difficult task but we must respond to the financial circumstances the state is facing,” Governor Gordon said. “These cuts will impact families across the state, will affect the services we provide and will have an effect on dollars that flow into the private sector.”
The Governor approved 10% cuts for most state agencies, boards and commissions. The Department of Health, with the state’s largest budget, will see a 9% cut totaling approximately $90 million. He stressed that the impacts of the budget cuts will be felt outside of state government as well. The budget cuts include significant general fund dollars that enter the private sector in the form of contracts, and also mean some services available to the state’s seniors, disabled and low-income residents won’t be available or will be reduced.
“The repercussions to our communities and the businesses of our state are significant,” Governor Gordon added. “While they are necessary, these cuts weaken our ability to deliver the critical services and functions of our state government that Wyomingites depend on.”
To help create additional budget savings, the Governor has instituted a mandatory furlough day for six months beginning in August for those executive branch employees on the higher end of the pay scale. As an additional cost-saving measure, Governor Gordon signed an Executive Order on Friday directing the Director of the Department of Administration and Information (A&I) to coordinate the immediate consolidation of all human resources personnel to be housed under the Department. The process is expected to take several months and will eventually lead to a reduction in state human resources personnel.
The budget cuts still leave a forecasted budget shortfall of more than $600 million. The Governor has directed agencies to prepare preliminary proposals to cut an additional 10% from their budgets and submit those concepts to him. He has previously stated that he will be considering a range of options to fund an appropriate level of government services, since merely cutting services will not be enough to address the scope of the shortfall.
A copy of the Governor’s Executive Order is attached and can be found on the Governor’s website.