Wyoming Liberty Group
Most Wyoming folks like to think of themselves as smart shoppers. We like to cheerfully tell friends about the good deals we’ve found or how paying list price for the latest pickup was worth it. Oddly enough, we don’t seem to shop the same way for our children’s K-12 educations. We neither know nor care how much is being spent nor whether we’re getting our money’s worth. Should we?
Amy Edmonds talks with Boyd Wiggam, legal counsel for Wyoming Liberty Group, about what place local control has in the Wyoming education system as expressed by the Wyoming Supreme Court. Many in Wyoming believe local control really exists, but does it? Listen and find out.
State revenues are declining dramatically and are expected to continue to decline. That means big ticket items, even crucial ones like K-12 education, must feel the pinch. No one wants the quality of education in Wyoming to drop, but the spending on it must decrease. Why? The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) projected in January that total minerals distributions in the five-year period 2016-2020 would be 29 percent or some $2.6 billion less than in the five years 2011-15. That will require real efficiencies and they can only be found where real dollars are being spent.
- Revenue shortfall highlights danger of one group paying for the benefits of another.
In its latest meeting, Wyoming’s legislative Revenue Committee discussed how to close the gap between state spending and state revenue for school capital construction. The bonanza funding the building blowout fizzled away, so what to do? Hike taxes to continue spending as usual or look for ways to spend less? As no one on the committee wanted to appear to be in favor of tax hikes, the discussion turned to the only viable option—spending reform. Too bad it took a crisis for legislators to focus on responsible spending.