Despite concerns that a lottery would be a regressive tax, the State House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow Wyoming to join a multi-state Powerball Lottery.
It establishes a quasi-corporation that would be tasked with making the lottery profitable. Several lawmakers near border states say that Wyoming is losing money as residents cross state lines to buy lottery tickets.
Wyoming got some good news from the latest Consensus Revenue Estimating Group report, but it won’t be enough to stop budget cuts from occurring. CREG reports that state revenue should increase by $85 million, mainly from projected Sales and Use tax revenue.
But Governor Matt Mead says that will not be enough to keep him from suggesting eight-percent budget cuts to the legislature.
CREG Co-Chairman Bill Mai says the group is cautious about a downturn in the coal industry, but they remain hopeful about other energy prices.
During his state of the state message Governor Matt Mead said that Wyoming is doing well. He said Wyoming does not have the severe budget constraints that other statesface, but that a downturn in projected revenue means that the state has to curb its spending.
“I have not recommended deep across the board cuts to agencies,” Mead said. “Instead I used a targeted approach identifying those areas where we could slow or even reduce growth. Some cuts have been made, but we should distinguish between cuts and reducing growth. There is a real difference.”
Top Wyoming lawmakers are directing state agencies to brace for possible budget cuts.
Republican Sen. Phil Nicholas, of Laramie, and Republican Rep. Rosie Berger, of Big Horn, are co-chairmen of the Joint Appropriations Committee. They wrote a letter telling state budget officials that agencies should be prepared for cuts ranging up to 8 percent in the coming two-year budget cycle.