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110 agencies under review in Cheyenne as state looks to tighten it’s budget belt

The Wyoming State Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee (JAC) is spending two weeks in December going over the details of each state agency’s budget.

The process includes a budget that was first prepared by the governor’s office and submitted to the JAC.
After hearing each state agency present the budget, JAC has the option of accepting, rejecting or amending an agency’s proposal.

The biennium budget will carry the state through 2020.

The entire process in December is considered an indepth hearing schedule that will be followed by an additional two weeks in January where budgets will be considered for reductions. During that time period, some agencies may go through a “call back” process, allowing them to further explain or defend their budget to the JAC.

The state’s main elected offices, the governor, secretary of state, auditor and treasurer opened the two week session, followed by the Supreme Court, district courts and district attorneys.

At mid week, the agency Enterprise Technology Services, (ETS) which oversees a combined computer service department for all state agencies, presented a budget. ETS was formed as a cost savings measure designed to combine on computer services, such as computer and software purchases, under one agency.

The University of Wyoming met with JAC late in the week and reported on a future project to expand student housing. The university has just over 12,600 students enrolled. Medical education programs associated with the University of Washington are also included with the budget.

The Community College Commission follows the university. The commission oversees all of the state’s community colleges. As an example, Western Wyoming Community College is seeking funding for infrastructure repairs.

The second week of JAC hearings, featured the Department of Corrections. The department is looking at either major repairs or a new prison due to structural failure of the main buildings.

The Department of Health opened the presentation, noting that for the first time there is inadequate funding for a series of programs. The department director advised the committee there would be a $32 million shortfall in Medicaid funding and at least $28 million would be associated with long-term care.

The remainder of the second week will be dedicated to the Department of Education, however specific education funding matters were diverted into School recalibration committee. The committee is tasked with offering an updated education budget with new funding proposals.

Overall, JAC will review 110 state agencies, first in December and a second time in January.
Individual budgets are listed on the Wyoming State Legislature’s web site.

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