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Tue August 10, 2010
GOP candidates debate spending and cuts
By Molly Messick
Riverton, Wy – Whether and how to cut state spending was one question posed, when Republican candidates for governor debated on Wyoming PBS last night. Matt Mead said across-the-board budget cuts can be irresponsible. Instead, he says he would try to focus on large government programs that seem especially prone to waste. In particular, he pointed to state spending on Medicaid.
"I have said repeatedly, you look at the largest piece of the pie. That is the Department of Health. Within the largest piece of the pie it is Medicaid and in Medicaid we do not do a very good job of verifying who gets onto Medicaid. And that would be the first place I would look to cut."
Colin Simpson praised the legislature's process of handing a downturn in state revenue over the last year and a half. Simpson says they allowed agencies to plan ahead and try to reduce their budgets by ten percent.
"We knew revenues were down significantly. We gave agency heads time to identify and prioritize and re-prioritize with their programs. Sometimes a 15% cut to a very small agency with two people will kill it. So it's re-prioritization and making sure we track the priorities in Wyoming as they change."
Rita Meyer said that cutting government when more services are needed due to the down economy is a bad idea, but Ron Micheli said that's when government should be cut. If citizens do more with less, he said government should do the same. Democratic candidates for governor will debate tonight at 7:00.