WPR News
8:43 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Equality State Policy Center advocates on budget proposals

Laramie, WY – As federal budget discussions continue and a possible government shutdown looms, the Equality State Policy Center joined advocates from dozens of other states in the nation's capitol. Executive Director Dan Neal says his purpose was to urge Wyoming's delegation to think carefully about cuts currently on the table.

A main point of discussion was possible cuts to Head Start programs. Neal says those would result in long waiting lists for children, and job losses in vulnerable parts of the state. "We're there to argue for legitimate needs out here in Wyoming that are served by some of these programs and policies that Congress sets and funds," he said. "We can't pretend that we can take this kind of cut in the budget without affecting our friends and neighbors here in Wyoming."

Neal says he's also concerned about the possible elimination of volunteer programs like AmeriCorps. He says he encouraged Wyoming's delegation to consider means of raising revenue - like closing tax loopholes, and implementing a national minerals severance tax - but met with a relatively noncommittal response from Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, and Representative Cynthia Lummis.