State Effort Highlights Grim Revenue Picture, Looks To New Economic Scenarios

Nov 13, 2019

Four likely scenarios forecasting the next few years
Credit Rob Godby

Gov. Mark Gordon announced an effort called Power Wyoming this week to study new revenue scenarios for Wyoming. The group presented data to the legislature's Joint Revenue Committee showing the state can no longer rely on revenues from the energy industry.

In a presentation, University of Wyoming energy economist Rob Godby highlighted the four most-likely scenarios for the next few years. All projections show a structural deficit in the near-term and persisting four or more years. With two of the scenarios, the deficit could increase by $200 million per year.

With those scenarios, Godby found coal production is expected to decline along with revenue, natural gas production to stay the same or decline with a price decrease, and oil recovery to remain solid in the near-term but prices to remain low.

In a press release, Gordon notes Power Wyoming is the first step towards fully understanding and tackling the revenue short falls right away and in the long-term. He added the group includes effort to support locally-led planning efforts and establish more resources for those communities.

Revenue Committee Chairman Cale Case has been involved with the group since the beginning. He said the state faces a serious challenge right now.

"Power [Wyoming] and the Revenue Committee are more geared towards funding the state in the future with with more at the tax question. You know, what are we going to sell and get revenue from basically," he explained.

This effort differs from former Governor Matt Mead's initiative ENDOW, which Case says brings in people and some economic activity, but not the immediate revenue needed for the state. There's no concrete scenarios in the works yet to address the revenue picture.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Cooper McKim, at cmckim5@uwyo.edu.