A Busy Legislative Session [AUDIO]
The Wyoming legislature dealt with a lot of high profile issues this session including removing Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill as head of the Department of Education, passing a 10 cent increase in the state's gas tax, and passing a supplemental budget that cut saved and spent.
Representative Steve Harshman, co-chairman of the Joint Appropriations Committee, says the supplemental budget was a lot of work.
Usually the supplemental budget is a thin book, we are only going into a few agencies to cut, this year we had cuts to almost every agency....
Harshman says they set up a new agency, the Enterprise Technology Service, which transfers the technology positions in every agency to the ETS. He says it will save the state a lot of money. Harshman adds the legislature will continue to address employee salaries and retirement. He says the main thing is they started the process of slowing down the growth of government.
It's always going to grow your'e always going to have inflation...but I think we managed to slow it down a little bit....
Senator Cale Case, chairman of the Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee, says he believes slowing down the growth of government is essential.
I appreciate the fact that this is the first time we had a cut on the budget, but I continue to be a no vote... need to rethink the way we do budgeting...
He adds his constituents say they are not happy with the reorganization of the Department of Education and the fuel tax increase.
Representative Mike Madden, chairman of the House Revenue Committee, says because Wyoming runs on roads, the business community joined together in a coalition to help get the increase passed.
That's why the business sector got so involved in this... it encompassed tourism, energy and agriculture...
The gas tax increase bill was signed by Governor Matt Mead on February 15th and will take effect on July 1st.
At the start of the session,429 bills were numbered for introduction and the legislature passed a total of 206 bills. The senate introduced 161 bills and 87 passed both the House and Senate. The House introduced 263 bills with 119 bills passing both chambers. Lawmakers will begin their interim committee work in the next few weeks. The legislature will convene again on February 10, 2014 for the budget session.
Rep Harshman - big budget
Rep Harsman on slowing growth of budget
Senator Cale Case on budget growth
Rep. Mike Madden on gas tax increase