We just finished week two of the 2022 Budget Session of the Wyoming Legislature. We are halfway down the road that is the 2022 Budget Session. This week we spent a significant time working on the budget bill, but we also took action on many other bills.
We headed into the budget with Wyoming’s revenue picture largely more optimistic than initially projected due to higher oil and gas prices with the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG)'s January forecast exceeding previous estimates by $248.1 million. The forecast also adjusted its estimates for fiscal years 2022-2023, surpassing original estimates by an additional $596.9 million.
With these elements factored in, the 2023-2024 budget is a balanced, conservative approach that delivers for the people of Wyoming. The proposed budget of approximately $2.8 billion is lower than ten years ago.
The debate on the floor of the Senate this week worked through various amendments, but we have stayed close to the original proposed budget.
A few highlights from the week include:
SF8: This bill passed the Senate unanimously and has been introduced in the House and referred to House Agriculture Committee.
This bill would change which state agency is responsible for weed and pest control on state lands. State lands are currently in charge of managing weed and pest on state lands but this would move the responsibility to the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the weed and pest division.
SF84: This bill passed second reading in the Senate and is awaiting third and final reading tomorrow.
This bill aims to keep Wyoming fossil fuel producers working in the State. The bill comes as reports swirl about the U.S. Bureau of Land Management considering raising the oil and gas royalty tax rate from the current 12.5% to over 18% on minerals extracted on federal lands. SF84 has been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Minerals Committee.
SF86: I sponsored this bill that would exempt activities relating to wildfire suppression from the Wyoming Underground Facilities Notification Act - this bill requires an excavator to call in advance before digging, but if this bill passes, wildfire suppression efforts would not have to call. It is vital the bill passes so we can remove useless red tape for our firefighters.
This bill passed second reading in the Senate and is up for third reading.