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Wyoming State Representative Evan Simpson says first round of cuts to the general fund reduces it by $445 million

Wyoming State Representative Evan Simpson (R-HD21) says after meeting last week and going through the first round of cuts, the state will reduce the general fund by $445 million.

He says this is a very significant cut.

“It’s the largest reduction in the history of the state of Wyoming,” Simpson said. “This will reduce the government back to what it was in 2004.”

He says this approximately will reduce 325 jobs and hundreds of programs from the state activities. He says there are some positives though as there was a motion to put $30 million back to support activities for seniors and disabled citizens.

“For example, our LSR (Lincol Self Reliance) program,” Simpson said. “They were going to be devastated by the cuts and we restored their funding. So, we’ve done some good things amongst the difficult areas of cutting government.”

He says one of the biggest hits to funding was the University of Wyoming along with the Department of Corrections. He says education is the biggest expense in the state, but the Department of Health is second.

“We spend almost billion dollars per year on the health department,” Simpson said. “They took a huge cut, a lot of social programs.”

He says he has also worked on a couple of bills that may interest people in Star Valley. He recently worked on a bill that would legalize online sports betting. He opposed the bill.

“We just viewed that as a devastating thing to our families,” Simpson said. “We just think that to become addicted to sports betting would just be a devastating thing and hurt so many families.”

He said in the first and second reading in the House, his position lost. In the third and final reading his position won in hopes the bill would stop there.

“Unfortunately the victory was short lived,” Simpson said. “Later in the day a Democrat from Jackson filed a motion to reconsider and they persuaded two or three people who voted against the bill flipped.”

He says it will now move to the Senate. He also mentioned the House did pass the Voter ID bill.

“If the Senate agrees with that next time we go to the polls to vote we have to show our drivers license or another form of ID,” Simpson said. “This has been a long time coming.”

He says he is excited to see that bill pass and hopefully become law. The budget bill has been discussed and passed in the Senate and now goes to the Appropriations Committee for review.