The Budget. Failure Fears at the Wyoming Legislature

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As legislators continue plowing through the budget, they said tough decisions are ahead, and they're not exactly agreeing on how to overcome them.

News 13's Jenna Jackson spoke with our legislators on the Budget Conference Committee to learn how this process is going.

Senator John Hastert told us, “There's concern over finding consensus on the issues,” and finding a consensus, can be tough when both the House and Senate have differing philosophies on the budget.

One differing opinion: Education Cuts.

A Senate amendment would impose a little over 90 million dollars in cuts by the end of July this year, but House members don't agree.

Representative Lloyd Larsen reported, “We also think that that needs to be brought in more gradually instead of just on June of this year. We think that puts the districts in a tough position.”

Bill Landen, Senator, commented, “It is the Senate position that it's very, very important that we come out of this session with some reductions in spending to education because of the size of the funding crisis. “

Another Senate amendment calls for a two percent cut to agency employees whose salary is funded 80 percent by the general fund.

Rep. Larsen felt, “We're kind of the opinion that if you're going to make a cut to agency employees that it would probably be more appropriate to do that across the board.”

Senator Landen felt differently, “I just feel pretty strongly that we, we need to reign some spending in and then we can come back down next year and talk about some further remedies in terms of our funding crisis.”

But what about the rumor the House and Senate aren't getting along at all?

“Well, if you want a good rumor, come to the Jonah Building,” said Rep. Larsen.

Landen shared, “I'm trying to be optimistic and I'm hoping by the time we get to the end of the week we'll have something that both houses feel that they can support.”

Larsen said everything has remained civil, despite the disagreements.

Senator John Hastert said with the amendments, the House brought an additional 10 million dollars in cuts to the supplemental budget after the joint appropriations committee passed the original bill, while the Senate brought around 100 million dollars of additional cuts.

The hope is they will pass the budget today.