Wyoming state budget and finances

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 09:42, 5 December 2013 by Geoff Pallay (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Wyoming state budget

Flag of Wyoming.png
Budget calendar:  Biennial
Fiscal year:  2014
Date signed:  May 8, 2013
Financial figures
GF expenses:  $3.41 billion
GF revenue:  3.40 billion
Other state budgets
AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

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.[1] 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.[1]

The state operates on a biennial budget cycle, which encompasses FY2013 and FY2014.[2] The fiscal year begins on July 1.

Wyoming had a total state debt of approximately $6,927,767,000 for FY2013, 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.[3] The FY2013 state debt is similar to the FY2012 state debt of approximately $6,992,094,000[4]

Wyoming's total state debt per capita in FY2012 was $12,193.38.[5]

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. [6]

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):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Wyoming 38.48% (#3) 38.6% (#7) 43.65% (#9) 39.64% (#12)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[7][8]

State Budget Fiscal Years 2013-14

The FY2013-14 budget bill as enacted can be found online.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name cannot be a simple integer. Use a descriptive title The governor said he would cut his budget by 10%, saving over $636,000.[9] 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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[1] 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.[1] The Wyoming Legislature approved the budget bill SF0001 on March 7, 2012, prior to the end of the legislative session.[13] [14]

The governor's $3.4 billion 2013-14 biennial budget the he submitted on Dec. 1, 2011 can be found online.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name cannot be a simple integer. Use a descriptive title 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.[15]

The budget makes a 5 percent reduction in most agency contract accounts.[16] 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.[15]

The Medicaid program served over 77,000 people in Wyoming at a cost of over $500 million split between the state and federal governments.[17]

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.[16]

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.[18]

State Budget Fiscal Years 2011-12

The 2011-12 budget can be found online.[19].

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.[20]

Supplemental budget

In 2010, then-Governor Dave Freudenthal announced that the state had $1 billion in liquid savings [21] He then proposed a supplemental budget providing cities and counties with an additional $50 million and an extra $50 million for state highways.[22] 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.[21]

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.[23]

Regular State Budget

The state legislature finalized $2.9 billion state funds budget for the biennium that runs through mid-2012.[24] The $2.9 billion does not include federal funds for highway projects and other projects.[24] It did not include pay raises for state employees.[24]

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.[24] 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.[24]

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.[24]

Budget Background

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. [25]

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 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.[26] 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.[27]

Credit Rating

In February of 2013, Standard & Poor's (S&P) renewed Wyoming's AAA credit rating, the highest possible rating, which the state has maintained since 2011. [28] [29]

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Wyoming NR NR AAA

Budget transparency

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.[30]

Government tools

The following table is 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
600px-Red x.png

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois created a multi-measure transparency profile for Wyoming, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations. 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.[31][32]

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.[33][34]


Wyoming received $618.1 million in federal stimulus funding between February 2009 and June 2013.[35]

Public Employees

See also: Wyoming public employee salaries
See also: Wyoming public pensions

According to 2012 Census data, the state of Wyoming employed a total of 15,968 people.[36] Of those employees, 12,522 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $53.2 per month and 3,446 were part-time employees paid $3.0 per month.[36] More than 38% of those employees, or 6,203 employees, were in education or higher education.[36]

External links

Additional reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Billings Gazette "Gov. Matt Mead signs Wyoming budget bill" March 8, 2012
  2. National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting" April 2011
  3. Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  4. State Budget Solutions “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  5. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  6. Yahoo, The Best- and Worst-Run States in America, Nov. 27, 2012
  7. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  8. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named necessary
  10. The Wyoming News "Mead says he prefers budget cuts to tapping state savings" April 26, 2012
  11. The Billings Gazette "Wyoming lawmakers review Mead's budget proposal" Dec. 14, 2012
  12. [1]
  13. KGAB.com "From The Legislature" March 9, 2012
  14. Budget Bill SF0001
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Casper Star-Tribune "Wyoming Gov. Mead cuts $64 million from budget request" Jan. 24, 2012
  16. 16.0 16.1 The Billings Gazette "Wyoming legislative Committee approves budget" Jan. 27, 2012
  17. The San Francisco Gate "Budget chairman concerned about Medicaid costs" Nov. 8, 2012
  18. The Billings Gazette "Mead talks budget, economy in State of the State address" Feb. 13, 2012
  19. Wyoming State Budget, 2011-2012 Biennium
  20. The Billings Gazette "Wyoming lawmakers face save or spend decision" Sept. 22, 2011
  21. 21.0 21.1 [The Billings Gazette "Freudenthal proposes more money for counties, cities, towns and highways" Nov. 16, 2010]
  22. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle "Supplemental budget to include more for roads, municipalities" Nov. 16, 2010
  23. Bloomberg "Wyoming Legislature to tackle budget this week" Feb. 14, 2011
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 The Los Angeles Times "Rebounding Wyoming economy, led by energy industry, boosts state revenue projections" Oct. 22, 2010
  25. State of Wyoming,"Explanation of Wyoming's budget process," retrieved August 9, 2010
  26. Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35
  27. Wyoming State Auditor Web site, retrieved November 18, 2009
  28. Press Release: Wyoming Maintains Highest Credit Rating, Accessed September 17, 2013
  29. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ratings
  30. The Billings Gazette "Wyoming Supreme Court rules records should be open" June 22, 2010
  31. Institute of Government and Public Affairs
  32. University of Illinois Transparency Profile for Wyoming
  33. [ University of Illinois 50 State Transparency Comparison
  34. University of Illinois State Transparency Profiles
  35. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State" Accessed September 17, 2013
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 2011 Wyoming Public Employment U.S. Census Data