Wyoming state budget
|Signed into law||March 8, 2012|
On March 8, 2012, Gov. Matt Mead signed the $3.2 billion budget bill for Wyoming that calls for maintaining a flat level of state spending for FY2013 and FY2013. The budget maintains spending for state agencies but also includes a provision requiring agencies to present plans to cut their budgets by 4 percent in 2013 in response to falling natural gas prices.
The state operates on a biennial budget cycle, which encompasses FY2013 and FY2014. The fiscal year begins on July 1.
Wyoming has a total state debt of approximately $6,927,767,000 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and the FY2013 state budget gap. The FY2013 state debt is similar to the FY2012 state debt of approximately $6,992,094,000
Wyoming's total state debt per capita is $12,193.38.
According to a 2012 study by 24/7 Wall Street, Wyoming is the 2nd best run state taking into account debt per capita, budget deficits, unemployment, median household income, and the percentage of the percentage of the population below the poverty line. The best run state is North Dakota and the worst run state is California. 
A new Fraser Institute report on economic freedom ranks Wyoming 4th in economic Freedom. Delaware ranks 1st and New Mexico ranks 50th. The study examines the impact of economic freedom on both the level of economic activity and the growth of economic activity. According to the study, the freest economies operate with minimal government interference, relying upon personal choice and markets to answer basic economic questions. More governmental restrictions on those choices curbs economic freedom. The study looks at three major categories per state – size of government, taxes and regulations. 
Federal Aid to State Budget
The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):
|Wyoming||38.48% (#3)||38.6% (#7)||43.65% (#9)||39.64% (#12)|
Figures are calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue. Data is available at in U.S. Census.
State Budget Fiscal Years 2013-14
The FY2013-14 budget bill as enacted can be found here.
FY2014 Budget Cuts
With declining natural gas revenue, Gov. Matt Mead asked state agency heads to prepare plans to cut 8 percent of their budgets for FY2014. The governor said he would cut his budget by 10%, saving over $636,000. Gov. Mead said that he did not wish to rely on reserve funds or savings to balance the budget, and opted for the cuts instead. He did, however, say he would consider using the 1 percent of the mineral severance tax that goes automatically into the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund, which can be diverted by the Legislature.
As of April 2012, the The Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account (also known as the "rainy day fund") held approximately $1.3 billion but the governor said he did not believe relying on the rainy day fund is not sustainable if revenues do fall. In December 2012, lawmakers reviewed Mead's request that they redirect roughly $130 million a year of energy revenues away from permanent savings into the state's "rainy day" fund, where it could be spent on state projects and operations.
The governor said in Nov. 2012 that he would decide within the month whether to recommend that legislators accept the federal Medicaid expansion offer, which could increase the state's Medicaid enrollment by 30,000 people.
Passage of the FY2013-14 Budget
On March 8, 2012, Gov. Mead signed the $3.2 billion budget bill that calls for keeping Wyoming's spending flat for FY2013 and FY2013. The budget maintains spending for state agencies but also includes a provision requiring agencies to present plans to cut their budgets by 4 percent in 2013 in response to falling natural gas prices. The Wyoming Legislature approved the budget bill, SF0001, on March 7, 2012, prior to the end of the legislative session.
The governor's $3.4 billion 2013-14 biennial budget the he submitted on Dec. 1, 2011 can be found here. In January 2012, the governor cut $64 million from his proposed budget after state budget analysts said lower natural gas prices mean the state will likely receive $100 million less than anticipated in the biennial budget cycle. His reductions include not giving any state employee a pay raise, which he said was preferable to layoffs.
The budget makes a 5 percent reduction in most agency contract accounts. Additional cuts in the governor's proposed budget include:
- $13 million for capital construction at the Wyoming Boys’ School at Worland
- $5 million from the $15 million request for landfills in the Department of Environmental Quality budget.
- $5 million from the capital construction project for infrastructure and improvement at University of Wyoming.
The Medicaid program served over 77,000 people in Wyoming at a cost of over $500 million split between the state and federal governments.
The Joint Appropriations Committee approved the budget after setting aside $150 million from the rainy day fund in the event that sagging natural gas prices leave the state short on revenue. The committee also nixed the governor’s $37 million recommendation for the Medicaid program in the Wyoming Department of Health to make up for the loss of federal stimulus funds, instead setting aside $25 million in the state auditor’s office for the department to tap into in case of a Medicaid shortfall.
In his State of the State address, delivered more than two months after the governor presented his proposed budget, Gov. Mead urged lawmakers not to make across the board cuts to agencies despite falling energy prices that mean less revenue for the state.
State Budget Fiscal Years 2011-12
The 2011-12 budget can be found here.
The state ended FY2011 with a surplus of $427 million, $320 million of which came from more revenue than originally the legislature had originally anticipated. Some lawmakers and Gov. Matt Mead said they favor using much of any available extra funds for local governments as well as highways and infrastructure construction projects, whereas some lawmakers wanted to put the money into the state's existing rainy day fund. The Legislature previously stated that any revenues in excess of the $96 million budget reserve fund for FY2011 should sweep directly into the state's rainy day fund, officially called the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account, which currently holds over $1 billion.
Then-Governor Dave Freudenthal announced that the state has $1 billion in liquid savings  He then proposed a supplemental budget providing cities and counties with an additional $50 million and an extra $50 million for state highways. The supplemental budget also allocates $66.2 million toward making up a Medicaid funding shortfall and $83 million for energy research at the University of Wyoming.
Gov. Matt Mead proposed a supplemental budget, but the Joint Appropriations Committee of the legislature drafted its own supplemental budget bill that included several critical departures from the governor's draft. In particular, they diverged on funding for local governments and funding of the state's School Facilities Program.
Regular State Budget
The state legislature finalized $2.9 billion state funds budget for the biennium that runs through mid-2012. The $2.9 billion does not include federal funds for highway projects and other projects. It did not include pay raises for state employees.
The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, the state's budget analysts, raised state revenue projections in October 2010, estimating that the state would have $580 million more for its general operating and reserve accounts as well as an additional $392 million in school construction and operating funds in the budget cycle that runs through June 2012. When lawmakers return to the Capitol in January 2011, they could choose to spend the additional funds on a more than $1.2 billion in a supplemental budget, although fiscal conservatives are expected to make the case for maintaining a substantial amount in reserve.
The 2011-12 state budget can be found here.
State spending by agency for the 2010-12 biennium can be found here.
State Budget 2010
Approximately $700 million was in available reserves at the end FY2010, which ended June 30, 2010.
Wyoming operates on a biennium budget. The biennium includes a 24-month period from July 1st of odd-numbered years to June 30th of odd-numbered years, such as the 2010-12 biennium, which runs from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011. All state agencies present their requests and past revenue and expenditure data by September or October for the Governor's consideration. The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group meets in October and develops revenue forecasts for the upcoming biennium. Following this, the Governor compiles a recommended budget that must be presented to the Legislature by December 1 of each year. Both the House and the Senate host a series of hearings to work through the budget. The entire budget working process takes 4 or 5 weeks and is completed at least one week before the budget session begins. Once both houses agree on the final budget bill the bill is passed into law. 
The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rates Wyoming “Tardy” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA does not consider Wyoming's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis does not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care. Wyoming's CAFRs are prepared by the Wyoming State Auditor. Rita C. Meyer was elected in 2006 Wyoming State Auditor, a constitutional office elected for a four year term by the general electorate of Wyoming. The Auditor is the State’s chief fiscal control officer. She maintains the central fiscal accounts, acts as the official custodian of accounting records, serves as the state payroll officer, and orders all payments into and out of the funds held in the state treasury.
In 2011, S&P raised the state's rating from AA+ to AAA, citing the state's economic strength.
The Wyoming Supreme Court held in June 2010 that Gov. Dave Freudenthal wrongly withheld draft budget documents regarding proposed budget cuts from a Cheyenne newspaper last year. The Supreme Court upheld a Laramie County district judge's earlier decision that the budget information was public.
The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:
|State Database||Searchability||Grants||Contracts||Line Item Expenditures||Dept/Agency Budgets||Public Employee Salary|
|Transparency in Government|
Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile
The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois has created a multi-measure transparency profile for Wyoming, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations, including Sunshine Review. These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.
Wyoming has received $0.4 billion in federal funding.
According to 2008 Census data, the state of Wyoming and local governments in the state employed a total of 59,238 people. Of those employees, 42,781 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $163,483,434 per month and 16,457 were part-time employees paid $14,749,885 per month. More than 52% of those employees, or 30,986 employees, were in education or higher education.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Billings Gazette "Gov. Matt Mead signs Wyoming budget bill" March 8, 2012
- ↑ National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting" April 2011
- ↑ Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
- ↑ State Budget Solutions “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
- ↑ State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
- ↑ Yahoo, The Best- and Worst-Run States in America, Nov. 27, 2012
- ↑ Fraser Institute, Economic Freedom of North America 2012
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 The Casper Star Tribune "Wyoming Gov. Mead: Budget cuts necessary" Nov. 8, 2012
- ↑ The Wyoming News "Mead says he prefers budget cuts to tapping state savings" April 26, 2012
- ↑ The Billings Gazette "Wyoming lawmakers review Mead's budget proposal" Dec. 14, 2012
- ↑ 
- ↑ KGAB.com "From The Legislature" March 9, 2012
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 The Casper Star-Tribune "Wyoming Gov. Mead cuts $64 million from budget request" Jan. 24, 2012
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 The Billings Gazette "Wyoming legislative Committee approves budget" Jan. 27, 2012
- ↑ The San Francisco Gate "Budget chairman concerned about Medicaid costs" Nov. 8, 2012
- ↑ The Billings Gazette "Mead talks budget, economy in State of the State address" Feb. 13, 2012
- ↑ The Billings Gazette "Wyoming lawmakers face save or spend decision" Sept. 22, 2011
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 [The Billings Gazette "Freudenthal proposes more money for counties, cities, towns and highways" Nov. 16, 2010]
- ↑ The Wyoming Tribune Eagle "Supplemental budget to include more for roads, municipalities" Nov. 16, 2010
- ↑ Bloomberg "Wyoming Legislature to tackle budget this week" Feb. 14, 2011
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 The Los Angeles Times "Rebounding Wyoming economy, led by energy industry, boosts state revenue projections" Oct. 22, 2010
- ↑ State of Wyoming,"Explanation of Wyoming's budget process," retrieved August 9, 2010
- ↑ Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35
- ↑ Wyoming State Auditor Web site, retrieved November 18, 2009
- ↑ State of Indiana, “State Credit Ratings-as of June 24, 2009"
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 Stateline.org "A brief history of S&P's state credit ratings" Aug. 12, 2011
- ↑ The Billings Gazette "Wyoming Supreme Court rules records should be open" June 22, 2010
- ↑ Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 29.2 2008 Wyoming Public Employment U.S. Census Data