Governor Matt Mead says falling natural gas prices make this a good time to reevaluate his proposed budget. In December, the governor submitted his budget, which asked agencies to present a two-percent cut to their budgets. That budget was based on natural gas prices which were nearly $3.50 per MCF at the time.
By Friday morning, Mead says gas prices on the spot market dropped to $2.75 which could mean a revenue reduction of nearly 100 million dollars over the next few years. As a result, Mead says the state might have to look at additional budget proposals which suggest cuts of five-percent and eight-percent to state agencies.
“So very early this morning I met with members of the joint appropriations committee and the forecasting group and the fact is that because natural gas prices continue to fall, all of us are going to have to take a strong look at the budget,” says Mead. “Including the budget I proposed and including perhaps the 2% cut.”
Mead says the new forecast puts Wyoming in a difficult situation and that the state will have to scrutinize his proposed budget including 87 million dollars for the legislature to work with, an additional 50-million dollars for highways, almost 170-million for local infrastructure funding and nearly 400-million for school funding and maintenance.