CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Today, the Wyoming House of Representatives will finish debate on HB0001, also known as the Supplemental Budget bill, which makes significant investments in Wyoming’s people, the state economy, Wyoming’s children and the state’s future.
“With this bill, the House Republicans are focused on saving, investing and meeting the needs of Wyoming citizens. It is a challenging balance to strike, but the work so far is leading us in that direction,” said Rep. Lloyd Larsen, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “This legislation is about Wyoming’s economic outlook and acting on good fiscal policy that provides for Wyoming’s people, our infrastructure and our children.”
During this session, a major priority is the supplemental budget bill and how the legislature should allocate a nearly $2 billion budget surplus. Much of this is a one-time windfall, which owes to improved revenues from oil and gas production, smart investments, and federal stimulus spending.
Highlights from HB0001 follow:
- Adjusting the reimbursement rate to dentists who provide critical dental health services to 40,000 children and senior citizens in the state, ensuring that those who qualify for Medicaid will continue to have access to critical dental care.
- Wyoming citizens who have developmental or intellectual disabilities or acquired brain injuries receive assistance from the community provider network, whose employees ensure their protection, wellbeing and happiness. The service providers continued services even after significant cuts were made to their budgets in 2021. House Representatives restored these cuts and adjusted their reimbursement rates to ensure they can continue to provide these essential services well into the future.
- $5 million to fully fund the property tax refund program.
- Creation of an ombudsman position in the Department of Environmental Quality to enhance the ability and timeliness for industrial permitting processes.
- Funding to assist with retention and recruitment of state agency employees. Wyoming state agencies report significant challenges with recruitment and retention of employees due to current salary rates. Current provisions in the budget increase state employee compensation to bring employee salaries from 83% to 98% of 2022 market rates.
- Funding trust funds as a savings mechanism and utilizing the interest income to make communities more livable, develop Wyoming’s workforce and to enhance the state’s wildlife.
“The people of Wyoming are a priority with this budget,” Larsen said. “We are restoring cuts and enhancing mental health, social services, education and job training. We are using a responsible approach to ensuring citizens’ needs are met and funding is leveraged for future needs. Prudent decisions and investments today will protect Wyoming’s future generations.”
“This bill strengthens the ability for our community providers to continue essential services to those who are living in the least restrictive environment,” Larsen said.
“We are always cognizant that our extractive industries provide the revenue that allows us to provide critical services to our citizens. In this budget, we respond to industry and ensure the permitting process is streamlined and efficient to empower the sector to continue their key role in our economy. We accomplish this budgetary exercise in restoring cuts and services without implementing or raising any taxes.”
The House of Representatives will debate the budget bill a final time today before it moves to conference committee for reconciliation.