Wyoming Lawmakers Reach Budget Compromise, But Issues Remain
Senate Appropriations Chair Bruce Burns gave Senators an overview of the compromise on Thursday.
School funding is being treated as a separate issue, as is capital construction for state buildings. Money for education has been taken out of the budget and is being addressed through House Bill 140, which has yet to be finalized.
That leaves the overall budget picture somewhat murky.
When Sen. Burns was asked by Sen. Charles Scott [R-Natrona County] what impact the proposed budget would have on a looming budget deficit, he admitted ''I don't know." The Sheridan Senator said that besides the fact that the dollar figures included in the compromise were still being added up, the fact that the issues of education funding and capital construction were not yet resolved made it impossible to determine exactly where the state stands for the biennium at this point.
But with the education funding issue set aside, for the time being, lawmakers can move ahead on the rest of the budget. The legislature was originally scheduled to end no later than Saturday.
Legislative leaders have the option of either extending the session into next week, or calling for a special session at some point, or both.
Under Wyoming law the governor has line-item veto power, so he can veto specific items without nixing the entire budget.
Laramie County got a bit of good news in the compromise budget, as it includes money for a new Carey Junior High School. The Senate had taken that funding out of its budget proposal, but the House budget included it, and the project was accepted into the compromise plan.