The Wyoming Senate voted Friday to cut funding to local governments for the coming year. The reduction is part of the need to address the loss of revenue to the state due to the downturn in the energy industry. The $10.5 million reduction will impact communities differently, but likely will impact things like staffing and services to the public.
Laramie Senator Chris Rothfuss argued last year that the current funding formula negatively impacted his community by providing it with less money without a valid reason. He said this reduction will remove over a million additional dollars from Albany County.
"One sixth of all savings coming from one of the poorest communities. If you want to look for cuts Mr. President, the first place you look is from the folks that have money and we've got them," said Rothfuss. "We've got communities who are still doing well Mr. President, that still have surpluses, even in these hard times."
Rothfuss and Douglas Senator Brian Boner said the solution is to give municipalities and counties more ways to raise local revenue. Senate Appropriations Chairman Drew Perkins of Casper said the lack of revenue in the state means the legislature has little choice but to make difficult cuts. The bill now moves to the Wyoming House of Representatives for further debate.