Governor Gordon Announces ‘Agonizing’ Budget Cuts
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon on Wednesday announced "agonizing" budget cuts to several state agencies, including slashing nearly $90 million from the Wyoming Department of Health.
And more are coming.
"We cannot avoid making painful cuts to programs," a solemn Gordon said during a press briefing Wednesday.
The cuts total more than $230 million.
Wyoming's coffers have taken substantial hits from the COVID 19 pandemic coupled with collapsing oil and natural gas prices.
The health department will begin phasing out the Wyoming Home Services program, which is an Aging Division program that provides services to people who are at risk for premature institutionalization.
Some immunization funding for children will also be eliminated. Reductions in funding for early childhood development and educational programs are also on the horizon.
Several state agencies will see 10% cuts.
According to a news release, the University of Wyoming is among the institutions seeing dramatic budget cuts, which will see $43 million taken from its budget.
Those cuts will mean "reduced higher education options" for Wyoming students. A personal project of Gordon's, Wyoming Works, has been cut.
During the Wednesday press briefing, Gordon called on school districts to make 10% reductions to their budgets. He said his authority to manage education funding is ambiguous.
"This is where local control comes in," Gordon said. "They know best where to make those cuts."
Gordon said the cuts are a part of a "vicious cycle." He added that it's going t become more and more problematic for the Cowboy State.
"I am saddened that we have to make these cuts. I know people from across the state will be greatly impacted, and I know they will be calm," Gordon said. "Wyoming is facing over a billion-dollar shortfall — that's a third of our income."
This developing story will be updated.