USDAgov, Flickr

Governor Matt Mead was in Casper on Tuesday, and reiterated his belief that there are areas of the budget that were ultimately cut too much, and departments need those funds replenished.

“So, this budget, without using any rainy day funds,” he said, “Asks for some exception requests. And in those requests, it asks for some funding back for some of our Department of Health programs and for some of our family services programs.”

Mead says that reimbursements from the federal government for some programs, particularly for nursing homes, have been lower than anticipated, and the number of elderly residents in those homes, has been higher.

But, the state is still responsible for making sure the money is there.

“Part of it,” Mead says, “is that some of the cuts that have been made in the last couple of years have gone too deep. And they have ended up hurting some of our citizens, whether it is seniors or our kids.”

As for revenue, some proposals being talked about involve raising the cigarette and liquor taxes.

“Look, no one wants of likes to raise taxes,” Mead admitted. “But the revenue committee has done the right thing. They are looking at everything, particularly since we can’t predict the economy, and we haven’t finished all our calibrations yet.”

But the leadership of the House committee have noted that it only takes 21 votes to block any move on taxes, and at least 12 votes have pledged to a private group, the Wyoming Liberty Council, that they will not vote to raise taxes under any circumstances. Mead finds that short sighted.

“I hearken back to President Reagan when he raised taxes,” Mead said. “He said he did it for the good of the country. But to have a blanket statement that there’s no circumstances where I would ever do that, even if our schools are closing down or our university isn’t sustained or our roads, I don’t think that takes into account changing circumstances and it forecasts sort of into the unreasonable area.”

The Governor also made a pitch for economic diversity so as to help keep our young people in the state when they get out of high school or college.