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Gordon releases a plan of how to use a $913 million surplus in state accounts

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PBS

Wyoming brought in more money than expected this year, which officials say is due to extra revenues from high energy prices. On Friday, Nov. 18, Governor Mark Gordon released a new plan for how to use the extra funds.

The state has $913 million in surplus in its General Fund and Budget Reserve Account. Gordon’s supplementary budget recommends that about half of the general fund money should be put into savings accounts, which would mean about $400 million goes into the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund.

“Our economy has performed better than anybody could have anticipated providing what I am referring to as a serendipitous amount of funding,” Gordon said. “It's our responsibility not to squander this fortuitous opportunity, and to make sure that we invest in our future in a way that will pay off for years to come.”

Gordon added that the effects of inflation have been huge in Wyoming, and the state’s fiscal plan should respond accordingly. He wants to allocate $70 million for an external cost adjustment for K-12 public schools. Also, $1 million to the property tax relief program in the state.

He also proposed to add $50 million to ongoing construction projects.

“We want to make sure that we have the firing capacity to be able to finish the projects that we've begun,” Gordon said.

He also wants to help out cities, towns and counties. He is proposing $26 million in direct distribution to communities and $10 million be put into the Mineral Royalty Grant Program – which serves as an emergency fallback account for towns and counties.

“That program ran out of funds last year and is absolutely essential for our communities to be able to address emergencies,” he said. “Rawlins lost its water supply last year for example. Clearmont lost its water supply a little bit before.”

The 2023 legislature will consider the Governor’s budget starting in January.

More information about how Wyoming's budget is determined can be found here.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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