The Wyoming state budget is out of control. One of the reasons for this is the structure of the budget process. The process starts with each agency submitting their standard budget. In order to do this, the previous biennium’s budget is used as the baseline with a percentage increase for inflation..
We need to move to a zero based budgeting system where each agency is required to prioritize each of its functions at the start of the budget process. Then, legislators can target and prioritize spending reductions for the areas that have been identified as being less important.
In addition, the out of control Capital Square Project is emblematic of Wyoming’s wasteful spending. The Capital Square Oversight Board has issued millions of dollars of bid waivers, which have prevented contracts from being issued to low bidders.
With the exception of a drop in revenue as the cause, any state government that spends less than they did the year before is a rare occurrence these days! Typically, more money is spent each year, and Wyoming is certainly no exception to this rule. According to Ballotpedia: “Between fiscal years 2014 and 2015, total government spending in Wyoming increased by approximately $1.2 billion, from $7.6 billion in fiscal year 2014 to an estimated $8.8 billion in 2015. This represents a 13.52 percent increase.” Can you imagine what would happen to a household if a family spent 13.5% more than they did the year before?! Wyoming citizens deserve to have representatives that are just as responsible with budgeting their spending as their constituents must do with their own household budgets!
What is zero-based budgeting? Zero-based budgeting would require each state agency to start at 0 when submitting their initial budget request and prioritize all of their spending items. That prioritization is submitted to the state legislature and helps the legislature in determining where spending items can be eliminated or revised. Here is a great video which talks about zero-based budgeting from a business perspective: http://www.investopedia.com/video/play/zerobased-budgeting/. Wyoming state government needs more of the private sector’s focus on eliminating waste and focusing on efficiencies.