Micky Shober q2

Wyoming is constitutionally required to balance its budget, of which there are two: the School Fund and the General Fund.

The General Fund has a $2.9 billion budget for the next two years, but a 50% shortfall in revenue is expected. The governor has signed off on 10% budget reductions (and another 10% is expected by the end of the summer), which includes furloughs and layoffs for state employees.

The School Fund also is experiencing significant shortfalls. It is not possible to cover these shortfalls with reserves.

We need to decrease costs and increase revenues. It is important to note that some services (for example, law enforcement, court systems, roads and maintenance) cannot be eliminated, so we must look for ways to boost our economy as well.

While serving as a county commissioner, my fellow commissioners and I decreased the county budget by 40%, so I know that there are areas that we can trim down.

Some solid ways to increase revenues are to diversify our economic base, such as value-added coal, oil and gas. One example of this is Atlas Carbon. Additionally, I will support and work to increase oil and gas exports.

After our mineral industry, Wyoming tourism generates significant revenues for communities, including ours, across the state.

I also would look to diversify our Wyoming investment strategies to increase this revenue stream.

We all can see that tough times are ahead, but I have lived in Wyoming all my life. We have weathered rough times before and we will do so again. Our way forward is through working together, listening to each other and finding common ground.

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