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Wyoming Sees Revenue Gains, Could Mean Fewer Cuts

CC0 Public Domain

Revenue is up nearly across the board in Wyoming — that’s according to the July update of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group. CREG reports that the state general fund saw a $294 million increase in revenue - up 27 percent from the January forecast. Oil and gas production has also led to more tax revenue and helped revive industries such as manufacturing and transportation.

Chris Rothfuss, the Senate Minority Floor Leader, said the revenue boost will help ease shortfall concerns, but it won’t be a game-changer.

“There had been a lot of discussion about further cuts being necessary and gouging education.” Rothfuss said, "I think the pressure on those discussions is off, but at the same time, we still do have a net revenue shortfall even with this good news for the next biennium.”

Rothfuss said he expects to still have to use money from the Rainy Day fund in the next legislative session.

Sales and use taxes increased nearly 15 percent higher than what was predicted by CREG in January of this year. The report says that the state also saw a major increase in dividends from a stronger stock market.

Senate President Eli Bebout said the revenue increases are a good thing, but not all is rosy.

"If you look at the pooled interest account, it’s actually down I think $14 million and a certain percentage. And if you look at the common school land income fund, the only reason we’re able to have a surplus there is because of the realized capital gains,” Bebout said.

He admitted things are looking up, especially in sales and use tax — the largest revenue contributor to the state and local government. Experts expect that to grow with this summer’s tourism season. The next CREG update comes in October.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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