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Won’t economic diversification solve our problems?

Current tax revenues from non-mineral activities like tourism, retail, and agriculture are not enough to replace our once-bountiful coal revenues. Residents and non-mineral businesses cover just a fraction of the cost of state services we all require and benefit from. Attracting new businesses and workers, without broadening our tax structure so that more of us contribute, will simply increase the need for state services … and further strain our state budget.


Why should we levy new or higher taxes, when we can cut spending?

State and local governments should be as efficient as possible. They must also properly serve individuals and communities. Wyoming has cut state programs during each mineral industry bust in the past 50 years, understanding that painful belt-tightening would be temporary.

But now IS different. As our largest sources of tax revenue decline, the state will continue cutting its budget, even as the cost of providing citizens with the services they expect continues to rise.

Cuts to state agencies also mean loss of substantial federal dollars. Many community non-profits rely on modest state grants to qualify for larger federal matching funds. These federal matches can double or triple the state’s contribution, which means that cuts to modest state support can reduce or eliminate important local services.


Can’t we spend the Rainy Day fund to reduce taxes and support more services?

The Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account, or “Rainy Day Fund,” was created by the Legislature during the natural gas boom (and resulting tax revenue surpluses) of the early 2000s. The purpose of the LSRA is to stave off brutal budget cuts or tax increases when energy markets are struggling and state revenues drop. It is not designed to replace major sources of revenue over the long run. We are fortunate to have savings to help us transition to a more permanent solution. We should begin now.


How does our low population and many miles between communities affect the state budget?

With Wyoming’s sparse population and great distances, basic costs simply cannot be reduced, as in other states, by spreading them across densely populated cities.

Funding for education is one of Wyoming’s two largest budget items. The Wyoming Constitution requires education funding to be shared equitably among districts. This means we can’t scrimp on smaller, more isolated school districts with higher costs per student. We want every Wyoming student to have access to a quality education.