Gov. Mark Gordon signs three bills that provide a framework for spending $1.25 billion in federal funding Wyoming received through the CARES Act earlier this year. (H/t Mark Gordon’s office)
Governor Mark Gordon announced Monday severe budget cuts for the current two-year budget cycle. The total reductions will equal more than $250 million, or nearly 10% of the state’s general fund budget, according to a July 13 release from the Governor’s office.
It will also include a reduction in the total number of state employees, mandatory furloughs, a reduction in major maintenance spending and the consolidation of human resources personnel across all state agencies.
Cuts will also include significant general fund dollars for private contractors servicing programs geared toward seniors, disabled and low-income residents.
Recent revenue projections showed an almost $1 billion shortfall for the general fund and another $500 million for school funding, per the release. As such, the Governor has approved 10% cuts across the board for most state agencies, boards and commissions as well.
The Department of Health, which boasts the state’s largest budget, will see a 9% cut, totaling approximately $90 million in savings.
“This is an incredibly difficult task, but we must respond to the financial circumstances the state is facing,” 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.”
Gordon went on to note that the repercussions felt by the businesses and the communities of our state will be significant.
“While they are necessary, these cuts weaken our ability to deliver the critical services and functions of our state government that Wyomingites depend on,” he said, adding that he’s instituted a mandatory furlough day for six months beginning in August for those executive branch employees on the higher end of the pay scale for additional budget savings.
As a further cost-saving measure, he signed an Executive Order Friday asking that the Director of the Department of Administration and Information (A&I) to consolidate human resources personnel. This process is expected to take several months and will eventually lead to a deep reduction in state human resources personnel.
Still, even with these substantial cuts, a forecasted budget shortfall of more than $600 million exists.
As such, the Governor has directed state agencies to prepare preliminary proposals to cut an additional 10% from their budgets. He 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.