“State of the State” Address Monday; Proposed Budget Sent to State Legislature

The 2014 Session of the Wyoming State Legislature convenes next Monday, February 10, for only a short work schedule of 20 workdays focusing on creating the State budget for 2015-2016.  

Governor Matt Mead will deliver the State of the State address to a joint session of the Wyoming Senate and House of Representatives beginning at 10:00 am Monday. That speech and the Chief Justice’s State of the Judiciary address will stream live at governor.wy.gov for those who’d like to tune in and watch.

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 Rep. Rosie Berger (District 51 and House Speaker Pro Tempore) has shared highlights of proposed budget that the Joint House-Senate Appropriations Committee, which met in January, is sending to the full legislature:

 The proposed budget [for 2015-2016] is conservative and focused on investments for the future of Wyoming’s people. Highlights include –

 * $400 million in new school construction and major maintenance for Wyoming’s K-12 facilities.

* $102 million for Wyoming’s community colleges and the University of Wyoming in new construction and major maintenance. Key projects are planned for Laramie County and Eastern Wyoming colleges, plus community college enhancements at Sheridan and others.

 * An additional $2.3 million for the Game and Fish Department, so that hunters and anglers don’t have to pay for legislative mandates through fee increases. Also another $3.2 million into a desired GF lab for testing and research, and $5 million to a permanent constitutional trust fund for the department.

 * $175 million for local communities and all of the services provided to Wyoming people, including a reserved $25 million in case the Federal government reneges on Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments due to Wyoming cities, towns, and counties.

* Instituting a study for an energy mega-campus designed to be a one-stop shop for commercial scale industries in Wyoming, so as to create an economically powerful value chain for energy, manufacturing, and significant job creation.

* $100 million for the creation of the School Foundation Reserve Account for the benefit of schools forever and in perpetuity.

* Raises for State workers and for UW/CC and K-12 employees – conservative and sustainable.

* An Integrated Test Center project that incentivizes real world solutions for using CO2 strategically from capture and sequestration from emissions of coal-fired power plants, with the University of Wyoming as the epicenter of this advanced laboratory.

From Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau, “Is it a conservative budget? Absolutely. Is it forward-looking and smart – yes – and still is responsible.” From Senate President Tony Ross, “Wyoming people can be proud that this is a fiscally sound budget and still know that we are doing what people want with smart infrastructure investment for job creation and maintaining a high quality of life throughout Wyoming communities.”

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