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WYFC: 32% Increse in Government Leaves Taxpayers Behind

Reps Tony Locke, John Bear, Scott Heiner Ben Hornok
March 14, 2024

No person would feel comfortable checking out at the grocery store without knowing the cost of what’s in their cart. No one would sign on the dotted line for a new truck with an unknown price tag. Nobody would take on a mortgage without knowing what the monthly payments will be. 
Nevertheless, tax-and-spend Uniparty Republicans and Democrats in the Wyoming Legislature won’t tell you the price tag of the budget they just passed earlier this month. 

The Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives and the President of the Senate recently penned a column celebrating the “conservative” budget that they championed– but they don’t tell Wyomingites how much was spent. WyoFile’s Kerry Drake, a self-described lifelong Democrat, defended the budget as well, describing it as full of “worthwhile” expenditures– but again, his column leaves out the bottom-line cost of the budget. 

The Uniparty and their allies in the media don’t want you to know how much was just spent in Cheyenne– and how much of it was discretionary spending
We believe that you, the taxpayers, deserve to know how much and to what ends every dollar extracted from you via taxation was directed. After all, it’s your money. 

We’ll start with this: the  total expenditures passed by the Wyoming Legislature earlier this month made up  the biggest budget in state history, clocking in at $11.5 billion. 

State budget experts determined that maintaining the same level of government services as included in the previous state budgets would require a new budget of $8.7 billion. How, then,  did we end up with a budget 32% higher than that required to maintain current services? And do you expect your income to increase that much in the next two years?

Funding was approved by spend-happy legislators for the High Plains Arboretum in Cheyenne with a price tag of $2,333 per tree, per year for trees that the state does not even own. Do you spend that much on your landscaping? 

A $140 million state museum was slated to be studied with $10 million over the next two years. 

A $150 million school was approved late in the budgeting process, jumping ahead of many other school facilities in line ahead of it under a state-wide school facilities Needs Report. 

This is just a tiny sampling of the spending items included in the hundreds of millions added to the budget by the Wyoming House of Representatives. Your Wyoming Freedom Caucus offered $700 million in common sense cuts, including removing funding for a float in the Rose Bowl Parade, ending subsidization of gender affirming care at a state-operated clinic in Casper, and withdrawing funds for anti-free market “affordable housing” projects. Only a measly $700K of our offered reductions were adopted. 

Many of our amendments focused on putting money toward property tax relief, returning excess taxpayer dollars to you, the people. Uniparty members characterized these efforts  as “far right”  claiming that the State of Wyoming “cannot afford” it. That’s why, despite our best efforts, only 2% of the total dollars spent this session were put toward property tax relief. Instead, the Uniparty socked over $2 billion into “savings,” believing it can save and spend more wisely than you can. 

Pork-barrel, continuing resolution-style omnibus budgets are the way of Washington D.C., not Wyoming. We stand for transparency in everything to do with the people’s business, which is why we will tell you how much your Legislature spent this year. It’s why we frequently request votes on the record, and direct you to to check out the bills, amendments, and votes for yourself. 

The State we all love depends on an accountable, transparent government, and we should not tolerate any other kind. 

For Wyoming, America’s last hope, 

Representatives John Bear (HD 31), Scott Heiner (HD 18), Ben Hornok (HD 42), and Tony Locke (HD 35)