Wyo. Legislature wraps up budget session

The Wyoming Legislature officially wrapped up the 2024 Budget Session last Friday at the Capitol in Cheyenne. 

The Legislature adopted the State's biennial budget, and the bill has been sent to Governor Mark Gordon for his consideration. He will have 15 days to consider line-item vetoes and sign the bill. The appropriations and transfers in the bill for the 2025-2026 fiscal biennium total $11 billion. Of this, $3.4 billion is from the General Fund, net of de-appropriations and including $170 million of discretionary transfers to savings.

"The final budget spends $209 million less than the Governor proposed in November," a press release from the Wyoming Legislature Majority explained. "The budget fully funds nursing homes, preschool for developmentally disabled children, and Wyoming home services for senior centers. Further, the bill invests in mental health and funds energy projects. Additionally, and importantly, the final budget restored more than $300 million for the construction of new schools. The Legislature has also allocated $253 million for property tax cuts and refunds."

The budget also includes a provision that would only allow the sale of the Kelly Parcel if the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Resource Management Plan (RMP) outcome does not include certain elements in the federal agency's preferred option, alternative B.

At the start of session, a total of 366 bills and resolutions were numbered for introduction. The Legislature ended up passing a total of 126 bills. Legislation that passed both houses has either been acted on or is waiting to be acted on by Gov. Gordon. 

One of the main issues the legislature focused on this year was property tax reform. The Senate and House of Representatives passed four bills addressing property tax -Senate File 54, House Bill 45, House Bill 3 and House Bill 4.

"Collectively, the legislation provides a 25 percent of fair market value exemption to all Wyoming homeowners; caps annual property tax increases at four percent; expands eligibility for property tax refunds, and cuts in half the taxes of many Wyoming senior citizens," a press release from Senator Bo Biteman (R-SD21), a member of the Joint Revenue Committee, explained. "It is the largest tax refund and reform package in the state's history."

Other bills the Legislature sent to the Governor's desk include House Bill 125 (Repeal of gun-free zones), House Bill 148 (Regulation of abortions), House Bill 166 (Education savings accounts), Senate File 9 (Parental rights in education), and Senate File 99 (Children gender change prohibition).

"Both the House and Senate have addressed a broad range of issues affecting Wyoming residents and while some of these laws will take effect immediately, many will not go into effect until July 1 of this year," the Legislature explained in a press release.

 

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