Wyoming state budget (2010-2011)

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Wyoming was projected to have a minor budget gap of $31.8 million for FY 2010[1], but was in an enviable position compared to most states by having the needed budget reserves to deal with declining revenue estimates. At the same time, Gov. Dave Freudenthal advised maintaining a conservative fiscal approach noting there would not be pay raises for teachers and state staff as "the budget would basically be static." Cost-of-living raises for state and school employees would not be included in Gov. Freudenthal's budget recommendations for next year to the Wyoming State Legislature.

Wyoming was to receive approximately $40 million from the federal government under HR 1586, a $26 billion plan to give states money for Medicaid and education that the President signed into law on August 10, 2010.[2] The state, however, had not had significant teacher layoffs and so chose not to apply for its $17.5 million in education funds after being told by the federal Department of Education if it could use the money to build schools.[3][4]

Wyoming had a total state debt of $1,699,484,012 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding debt, pension and OPEB UAAL’s, unemployment trust funds and the 2010 budget gap as of July 2010.[5]

2011 State spending & deficit in billions[6]
Total spending Pension Healthcare Education Welfare Protection Transport Debt
$4.5 $0.4 $0.9 $0.7 $0.5 $0.4 $0.5 $1.3
2011 Local spending & deficit in billions[6]
Total spending Pension Healthcare Education Welfare Protection Transport Debt
$5.7 $0 $1.2 $1.8 $0.0 $0.4 $0.3 $1

State budget 2011-12

See also: Archived Wyoming state budgets

Supplemental budget

Then-Governor Dave Freudenthal announced that the state had $1 billion in liquid savings[7] He then proposed a supplemental budget providing cities and counties with an additional $50 million and an extra $50 million for state highways.[8] 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.[7]

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.[9]

Regular state budget

The state legislature finalized $2.9 billion state funds budget for the biennium through mid-2012.[10] The $2.9 billion did not include federal funds for highway projects and other projects.[10] It did not include pay raises for state employees.[10]

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.[10] 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 were expected to make the case for maintaining a substantial amount in reserve.[10]

The 2011-12 state budget can be found online.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

State budget 2010

Approximately $700 million was in available reserves at the end FY2010, which ended June 30, 2010.[10]

Budget background

See also: Wyoming state budget and finances

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 was completed at least one week before the budget session begins. Once both houses agree on the final budget bill the bill was passed into law.[11]

Budget figures

The following table provides a history of Wyoming's expenditures and gross domestic product (GDP).

Fiscal Year Expenditures (billions) GDP (billions)
2000 $3.7[12] $17.3[12]
2001 $4.0[12] $18.2[12]
2002 $4.3[12] $19.6[12]
2003 $4.7[12] $21.7[12]
2004 $5.1[12] $23.4[12]
2005 $5.6[12] $26.6[12]
2006 $6.0[12] $29.9[12]
2007 $6.4[12] $31.5[12]
2008 $6.8[12] $33.2[12]
2009 $7.2*[12] $35.0*[12]

Accounting principles

See also: Wyoming government accounting principles

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 did 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 did not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care.[13] Wyoming's CAFRs were 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 was 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.[14][15]

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Wyoming[16] NR NR AA+

No property tax relief

In an effort to provide residents with property tax relief the Governor urged the funding the Homestead Exemption bill, however, lawmakers in the House and the Senate said that with the state's current economic climate a recent report on energy revenue. Sen. Phil Nicholas said,"We look at the declining revenues, and in light of the fact that we're going to be looking at cuts in the budgets, we're more interested in saving jobs." Rep. Rosie Berger said that even though she supported the tax relief measure, "It just didn't make sense over the last few weeks as we've been reviewing our budget and looking at our (revenue) estimates that we could offer that, and yet continue offering other services to the people of Wyoming."[17] Both the Governor and House Speaker Colin Simpson had made property tax relief a priority for the legislative session. The Governor said,"I can understand why they did what they did, and I don't intend to criticize them for it. I'd rather our revenue picture was different. I think it's just a harbinger of things to come."[17]

Economic stimulus package

Wyoming would receive approximately $40 million from the federal government under H.R. 1586, a $26 billion plan to give states money for Medicaid and education that the President signed into law on August 10, 2010.[18][19]

Wyoming was expected to receive approximately $498 million from the $787 billion dollar economic stimulus.[20] All told, the federal stimulus plan would create or save 8,000 jobs in Wyoming, based on White House estimates.[21]
For more information on how the federal stimulus funds were being used in the state of Wyoming, visit the state recovery website.

According to preliminary reports Wyoming was expected to receive:

  • $26.2 million in Title I funds[22]
  • $26.92 million in IDEA funds from the U.S. Department of Education[22]
  • $215 million for capital infrastructure and environmental protection[20]
  • $210 million for diesel emissions reduction[20]
  • $59 million for Federal Medical Assistance[20]
  • $14.3 million for Unemployment Insurance Modernization[20]

Budget transparency

Wyoming had no statewide, official spending database online, although HB 144 that passed in 2009 mandated that a public finance site be operational by no later than January 1, 2010.[23]

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.[24]

Government tools

The following table was helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary
Transparency in Government
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png

Economic stimulus transparency

  • Wyoming established an economic recovery website to show how legislators and government officials in Wyoming were spending Federal funds.[25]

Public employee salary information

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Wyoming and local governments in the state employed a total of 59,238 people.[26] 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.[26] More than 52% of those employees, or 30,986 employees, were in education or higher education.[26]

See also

Wyoming government sector lobbying
Wyoming public pensions
Wyoming state budget and finances
Wyoming state government salary

External links

Additional reading


  1. Wyoming Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG), "Wyoming State Government Revenue Forecast Fiscal Year 2010 - Fiscal Year 2014," October 2009
  2. Federal Fund Information for States “ARRA FMAP Extension & Education Jobs Fund Totals” Aug. 11, 2010
  3. CNNMoney.com "States playing fast and loose with teachers' jobs money" Sept. 20, 2010
  4. H.R. 1586
  5. State Budget Solutions “States Hide Trillions in Debt” July 22, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 USA Spending, State Guesstimated* Government Spending
  7. 7.0 7.1 [The Billings Gazette "Freudenthal proposes more money for counties, cities, towns and highways" Nov. 16, 2010]
  8. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle "Supplemental budget to include more for roads, municipalities" Nov. 16, 2010
  9. Bloomberg "Wyoming Legislature to tackle budget this week" Feb. 14, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 The Los Angeles Times "Rebounding Wyoming economy, led by energy industry, boosts state revenue projections" Oct. 22, 2010 (dead link)
  11. State of Wyoming, "Explanation of Wyoming's budget process," accessed August 9, 2010
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 12.17 12.18 12.19 US Government Spending, "Wyoming State and Local spending," accessed March 31,2009
  13. Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35
  14. Wyoming State Auditor Web site, accessed November 18, 2009
  15. CAFRs
  16. State of Indiana, “State Credit Ratings-as of June 24, 2009"
  17. 17.0 17.1 Associated Press, "Wyoming budget negotiators ax property tax relief," March 3,2009 (dead link)
  18. Federal Fund Information for States “ARRA FMAP Extension & Education Jobs Fund Totals” Aug. 11, 2010
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named HR1586
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Star Valley Independent, "Governor’s office details Wyoming’s share of economic stimulus," March 26,2009
  21. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, "Estimated job effect," accessed April 1,2009
  22. 22.0 22.1 Casper Star-Tribune, "Education stimulus money arrives," March 31,2009
  23. Wyoming House Bill 144, "Transparency in Government"
  24. The Billings Gazette "Wyoming Supreme Court rules records should be open" June 22, 2010
  25. Wyoming Economic Recovery
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 2008 Wyoming Public Employment U.S. Census Data