May 4, 2020 |

Although Wyoming’s revenue streams remained on track through March, the economic impacts on the state because of the coronavirus crisis will require at least one, and maybe two, special sessions of the legislature.

Lawmakers will return to Cheyenne this month, and perhaps again in June. State officials are waiting for data on the financial fallout from both closing businesses and falling energy prices.

Governor Mark Gordon said that once the dust clears on revenue impacts and future pricing for gas, coal and trona, lawmakers will meet to adjust the budget they finalized in February.

The last update from the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, released on April 27th, states that revenues into the general fund exceeded January’s projections by $1.6 million, or 0.1 percent. This may be the last good news economists will report anytime soon.

The CREG report hedges all bets on the future, nothing that revenue shortfalls in the aftermath of the virus will be quote “significant and extraordinary.” The governor is not waiting for the legislature to meet. He’s looking to cut state spending.

In addition to the budget meeting in June, the legislature will also convene for a short session in May. This month’s session would focus on several bills aimed at distributing $1.2-billion of federal CARES-Act money to mitigate impacts in the state from the coronavirus outbreak.

The governor has already sent a three-phase plan to the legislature outlining how to allocate the money, which must be spent by the end of the year on targeted programs.

The first phase of plan is frontloaded with about half of the $1.2 billion in grant money. It would benefit local emergency responders, heath care providers and unemployed workers.

The governor and the legislature are consulting on when lawmakers will return to Cheyenne this month to grapple with all of the issues facing the state as a result of the crisis.

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