Governor Says Coal Is Back But Education Cuts Still Loom
The accounts that fund education saw an unexpected revenue boost, which brought the predicted education shortfall from $400 million down to $250 million, according to Governor Matt Mead.
Mead said coal is coming back — along with oil and gas — but he cautioned the state is still running short on funds. He added that means the legislature will have some hard work to do during the 2018 Budget Session, as they consider further budget reductions or alternate revenue through new taxes.
Mead said maintaining high-quality education should guide those decisions.
“That is great traction for business,” said Mead. “Because the businesses that are here and the businesses that I sit down with to try to recruit to Wyoming, there is no discussion about economic development or about moving a business that doesn’t have at the top of the list, what is the workforce's education.”
Mead said he doesn’t know if there will be cuts to education but he favors them being minimal. “Because I think that’s foundational to the success of the individual, and diversifying and growing our economy,” said Mead.
Other state funds also experienced an increase. The general fund is $70 million ahead and the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund is $133 million ahead of predictions, and the rainy day fund saw a $62 million increase.