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Governor says Wyoming must cut $250M from state budget

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Posted at 4:36 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 10:25:01-04

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced Wednesday he must cut $250 million from the state budget because of the state's economic downturn.

“The cuts are difficult and will impact everyone in the state. Each cut is agonizing and there is more coming,” Gordon said at a news conference in Cheyenne.

The state Department of Health will see a $90 million cut, including cuts to programs that assist low-income residents and senior citizen services.

Higher education will absorb a $67 million cut, which includes $42 million from the University of Wyoming and $25 million from community colleges.

Another $23 million will be cut from the state Department of Corrections.

Budget Director Kevin Hibbard said 274 state jobs were cut Wednesday.

The governor of Wyoming is constitutionally required to balance the budget each year.

Wyoming has lost 30% of its income this year. The oil, gas, and coal industries have had devastating years. Energy and mining sectors used to carry the economic load for the state, but the pandemic has torpedoed demand and led to huge job losses. COVID-19 related reductions have hit tourism and the service industries.

Not included in the cuts are K-12 schools. Gordon says the schools will likely have to make a 10% cut in their budgets.

Watch the full news conference below: