Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is proposing $248 million in cuts, the majority from the Department of Health, as he works to balance the budget for the next biennium.

Mead told the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee Tuesday morning, that the state's revenue shortfall could climb to $510 million in the two-year budget cycle that starts July 1.

"Seventy-two percent of the state's general fund resides in five agencies: the Department of Health, University of Wyoming, the Department of Corrections, community colleges and the Department of Family Services," said Mead.

"There is no way to arrive at $248 million of budget reductions without significant reductions to these agencies," he added.

The majority of the cuts, $90 million to be exact, come from the Department of Health. Mead says the reductions will cost $41 million in lost federal matching funds.

"The reductions come at an estimated cost of 677 private-sector jobs," said Mead. "Had we expanded Medicaid we would still be making cuts, but I believe the cuts would not be to the degree they are now."

"I do not like the cuts," Mead added. "If you all believe there is a better way or that you can create a better plan I encourage you to do so, to call a special session."

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