Wyoming Liberty Group
Most homeowners seem to understand that if they make long term spending decisions based on windfall revenue, they could lose their homes. Most politicians seem to understand that if they make long term spending decisions based on windfall revenue, they’ll get re-elected. In Gov. Mead’s something for everyone 2015-16 biennial budget, most of the revenue used to fund spending increases is coming from capital gains.
In his budget for the upcoming legislative session, Governor Mead goes to great lengths to paint the Wyoming economy in rosy colors. Here is an excerpt:
Two years ago, Wyoming received Standard & Poor’s highest credit rating – at a time when many states and the nation were in declining financial circumstances. Wyoming has retained this AAA rating and, in the last three years, has garnered other top national rankings as well. For example, Wyoming has been named the 4th fastest growing state, has ranked as the number 1 or number 2 best run state … This year, the accolades continue with Wyoming’s repeat ranking as number 1 among the states for its business friendly tax climate … .
Beneficiaries of Wyoming’s state pension plans received big promises from politicians who don’t seem to have put much thought into how to pay for those promises. With state pension liabilities still rising, Wyoming’s legislature is looking at another tweak to the state’s pension plans. Without substantial reform, however, another quick fix is likely to leave both pensioners and taxpayers at risk.
Once again the Wyoming Liberty Group has been ahead of the curve. For more than six months now I have explained, from a variety of angles, that the Wyoming economy is nowhere near a recovery. Now, finally, the Wyoming State Economic Analysis Division is beginning to shed some light on the same problems.
When government at any level begins discussing budget cuts, we in the private sector soon find ourselves facing a barrage of stories discussing the layoffs that will result. Interestingly enough, when government increases spending we seldom see a discussion of the cost to citizens of increasing the size of the government payroll.
Both the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County governments have prioritized government worker pay hikes in this year’s budget. Both governments are rationalizing prospective hikes with employee pay studies, but these studies seem to be undervaluing, or leaving out altogether, the cost of benefits.