Green River Star -

Our View: Budget cuts hurt locals as well

 


It’s easy to read news coming from Cheyenne about state budget cuts or staff reductions in Casper as issues being far removed from Green River.

They’re not and the recent closure of SW-WRAP is proof of that. The organization, which underwent a reorganization under a new CEO last year, closed after several grants supporting programs administered through SW-WRAP were cut or awarded elsewhere. As a result, the Green River-based organization which once boasted offices in multiple states, is now defunct.

The real tragedy of the closure isn’t the jobs lost as a result of budget cuts, its the people impacted by these cuts -- residents who are the most in need. With more than a billion in its Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account, which is also known as the “rainy day fund,” the state could have easily avoided cuts to programs serving people in need. They could have continued funding programs to help make sure seniors who struggle with winter heating bills can live in a warm house or ensuring those not covered by Medicare could have received benefits. Yet, in their infinite wisdom, they chose to make a stand on the backs of thousands of Wyoming residents in an futile attempt to thumb their nose at the feds in Washington, D.C.

These problems were purposefully created by a legislature more concerned with being on the right side of a policy dispute than helping our friends and neighbors across the Cowboy State. With an election cycle coming up, Wyoming voters should do what’s best for the state and replace a large number of them. We’re speaking beyond the idea of Democrats versus Republicans, but voters should elect candidates who want to support the state’s residents and believe the state can open its LSRA fund more than the trickle legislators have already approved.

A recent report from Wyoming Public Media suggests the upcoming legislative contests will be among the most competitive in the nation. It’s not hard to see why either. Wyoming has had to tolerate a legislative body that, while capable of doing things to help residents, have decided to adopt a stance that those who need help the most, are the ones who shouldn’t receive it and believe education is a worthy target for cuts.

While not every legislator shares those views, we can only hope those who voted to cut funds to help the state’s less fortunate get what they deserve come the August and November elections.

 

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