CHEYENNE — Leadership in both chambers projected an air of stability and optimism Friday after the midweek drama in the Legislature over the state’s supplemental budget.
The Senate suspended its rules and introduced several new spending bills Wednesday that would fund what they see as the top priorities for Wyoming in the event the chambers fail to agree on a full budget bill.
That move, along with the 30-0 vote to kill Senate File 162, the state-funded capital construction bill, was seen by some watchers as the Senate signaling it wasn’t going to budge from its spending priorities.
But speaking Friday, both Senate President Drew Perkins, R-Casper, and Speaker of the House Steve Harshman, R-Casper, said they expected both sides to reach an agreement and downplayed the midweek actions.
The House’s version contains $51 million in spending beyond the recommendations of the Joint Appropriations Committee. The Senate comes in at $19 million less than the JAC’s recommendations.
A big portion of that $70 million difference is in education funding. The House increased the external cost adjustment for schools, which helps defray the effect of inflation on the education budget formula, by about $21 million over what was included by the JAC.
The Senate cut down its external cost adjustment formula, which resulted in about $9 million less.
The House also included $15 million in additional funding to finance a new revenue tracking system, something Harshman said was necessary as the current system continues to age.
By Ramsey Scott
Wyoming Tribune Eagle Via Wyoming News Exchange