Governor Matt Mead reviewed his budget proposal for 2015-2016 with state lawmakers today. He met with the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee (JAC) at the Capitol. Stemming the tide of budget growth seen in the last decade is a priority for the Governor and his proposal of a $3.3 billion budget is relatively flat in relation to the budget he proposed two years ago.
Governor Mead pointed to stable and moderately increasing revenue projections, which teamed with conservative budgeting allows the state to address needs and to take advantage of opportunities. He identified salary increases for employees (state, judiciary, University of Wyoming, community colleges and K-12 teachers), the Unified Network, support for local government, and more resources to reduce the waiting list for the developmentally disabled.
"These proposals reflect priorities I have supported throughout my time as Governor. A Unified Network will enhance our ability to attract business, educate students and advance technologies. A thoughtful compensation plan is essential to any business and to running an effective government. Increased funding for local governments ensures that our communities remain vibrant. Providing support to people with development disabilities and reducing the waiting list is the right thing to do," Governor Mead said.
Other budget proposals include:
· Modernization of the state rulemaking process by developing an updated data system and making rules more accessible to the public.
· Sustaining and expanding tourism marketing plans to build on growth in that industry.
· Strengthening the Air Enhancement Services program and its support of commercial air travel to and from Wyoming.
· Funding for the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and its projects.
· Moving forward on the Tier 1 College of Engineering building and academic programs at UW.
· Updating facilities at the community colleges, State Hospital, Life Resource Center, Boys' School, and National Guard armories.
· Building and renovating new schools.
· Funding for court security and school safety.
· Supporting health care initiatives including medical homes, aging and disability resource centers, the 2-1-1 program, immunization programs and the e-health partnership.
"This budget continues a tradition of conservative fiscal policy that allows us to chart a responsible financial course in times of prosperity and to weather rough times," Governor Mead said.