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Wyoming Legislature to Tackle Budget, Healthcare and Taxes [AUDIO]

wyoguard, Flickr

The general session of the 62nd Wyoming Legislature officially begins Tuesday and the supplemental budget will be the biggest issue lawmakers will tackle. Rep. Tom Lubnau, Incoming Speaker of the Wyoming House says with the decrease in income that the state has, there’s not a lot of room for legislative initiative.

The overriding issue this session will be finances and the decline in tax revenue and the increase in mandates from the federal government…

Incoming Senate President, Cheyenne Senator Tony Ross says the state needs to brace for flat revenues for years to come.

…supplemental budget requests are out and budget cuts proposed and we will debate those…

Last year the legislature had asked state agencies to profile 4 percent budget cuts. The Governor’s  supplemental budget request is recommending 6.5 percent, or a $60.5 million, cut in operating expenses for the next fiscal year. The governor’s request also called for statutory changes that would add more money into the state’s Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account. Lubnau says he is not sure where the legislature will come down on the governor’s recommendations.

…legislature will be more conservative than the governor’s recommendations.

Senator Ross says the second major issue will be how the state responds to the affordable care act.

…do we move forward with the health insurance exchanges do we expand Medicaid. those will all be up for debate…

Ross says the legislature will also be looking at ways to raise revenue this session, including a proposal to raise the state’s gas tax by ten cents a gallon. but ross says all revenue bill start in the house.

…so the senate will either see it or not, because it has to pass the house first…

Ross says he has also hear from his constituents about a proposed bill that would raise game and fish license fees.

Complete Audio:
Lubnau on Declining Revenues:

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Ross on Supplemental Budget:

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Lubnau on the Conservative Legislature:

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Ross on Healthcare:

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Ross on the Gas Tax:

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