Natural Resource Dependent, Wyoming's Budget Suffers During COVID-19

Natural Resource Dependent, Wyoming's Budget Suffers During COVID-19

11:58am Aug 03, 2020

This page is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

Wyoming is looking at a loss of more than $1 billion in revenue due to the downturn in the energy industry related to COVID-19.

The state gets more than than 60% of its revenue from taxes related to oil, natural gas, coal and more. Oil in particular saw prices plummet this spring, which led Wyoming's Republican Gov. Mark Gordon to cut nearly $250 million, or 10%, of its biennial budget in July — with more cuts on the way. The governor is also looking at K-12 education as well as state employee layoffs and furloughs.

Wyoming does have over $1 billion in reserves, but Gov. Gordon is concerned about spending too much out of that account early. The state is also a low tax state and lawmakers are reluctant to raise taxes until all other avenues are considered.

The governor has proposed getting rid of a range of sales tax exemptions and re-instating a food tax to help make up the shortfall. He says it will take a combination of cuts, revenue options reserves to get through the crisis.

Bob Beck is the news director at Wyoming Public Radio.

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