As Wyoming faces tough choices about how to balance its budget, a new survey from the University of Wyoming looks at what the public would choose.
It's the first scientific look at citizen opinion on the budget.
“Effectively we have three choices to face a budget deficit: Raise revenue, that’s increase taxes, cut services or agency budgets, or thirdly take money out of our savings account, the rainy day fund," said Rob Godby, one of the organizers of the survey. "And we were trying to figure out what combination or single action was most popular with people.”
The proposal that drew the most support involved accepting Medicaid funding, cutting state agency budgets slightly, using a small amount of the state’s savings and keeping taxes and education funding unchanged. But even that proposal only garnered 52 percent support.
“A lot of people just don’t want to make any of these choices, they would just wait," Godby said. "But we didn’t give them that choice, because the state has to balance the budget.”
The budget the Legislature actually adopted drew just 42 percent approval. Proposals that approximated cuts made since the end of the Legislative session were even less popular. Godby says lawmakers might find the study helpful to understand public opinion. He’s hoping to repeat the study in the future, in order to gauge how that opinion changes over time.