Wyoming Taxpayers Association Final Legislative Report

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legislative monitoring meeting
Members of the Revenue Committee discuss interim topics on March 7.
The 64th Legislature concluded the 2018 Legislative Budget Session on March 15. Starting the session with a slate of 330 House and Senate bills, by its conclusion, 150 had met their fate, and 136 have been signed into law by Governor Mead.

While the final budget was very close to the respective versions submitted by the House and Senate in terms of spending levels, they differed substantially on funding methodologies. Remaining divided on their respective philosophies on funding methodologies, the two sides settled on a budget bill deal that would allow both approaches as a trial measure, each for one year during the two-year biennium. The Legislature will adopt the House’s plan for FY 2019, and the following year it will then be the Senate’s turn. The two sides passed the general government appropriations budget on Saturday morning, March 10, but went late into the evening debating K-12 spending reductions and state capital construction projects.

The Legislative Policy Committee (PC) held its final meeting on Monday, February 26th, to review and discuss the 37 proposed bills on the WTA Budget Session Tracking Sheet accompanying this report. Below is a quick review of the major bills that WTA was following.

Passed & Signed
•    HB1/SF1 General government appropriations (mirror bills). This bill makes appropriations for the fiscal biennium (2019-2020) commencing July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2020, and provides appropriations and transfers of funds for the period of the budget and for the remainder of the current biennium (2017-2018). The WTA monitored this bill.
•    HB72 Ad Valorem Tax Collections. This bill specifies that a county may deduct extraordinary costs to collect taxes prior to distribution of the tax and provides that a county shall not be liable to any other governmental entity for amounts not collected due to nonpayment by a taxpayer. The WTA monitored this bill.
•    HB140 School finance amendments-4.  This bill modifies provisions of the state’s school district funding system, requiring the average daily membership calculation within the school district funding model to be calculated at the school district level. This bill proposes to reduce spending from the School Foundation Program. The WTA monitored this bill. – Governor signed the bill on March 27.
•    SF27 Excise Tax Audits.   This bill specifies audits shall commence when the taxpayer or vendor receives written notice of the engagement of the audit. It also specifies audits shall encompass a time period not to exceed 3 years immediately preceding the reporting period when the audit is engaged unless there is evidence of a violation or of gross negligence. The WTA supported this bill.
•    SF50 Collection of State Financial Obligations.  This bill specifies that a collection fee be added to sales and use tax debts collected by collection agencies for the DOR rather than deducted from the proceeds of the collection.  This would result in increased sales and use tax distributions to the General Fund and local governments of $131K and $129K, respectively. The WTA supported this bill.
•    SF108 Economic diversification and development.  This bill provides authority of the ENDOW executive council to expand the agricultural marketing program; providing for international trade representatives. It authorizes the council to move from 15 voting members to 20. The WTA monitored this bill.
•    SF120 Government efficiency project.   This bill creates a program and state savings and efficiency initiatives account from which to pursue and fund government efficiency initiatives. The WTA supported this bill.

KEY POINTS OF HB0001 – General Government Appropriations
Total Appropriations:
•    General Fund (GF) Appropriations: $2,899,037,800
•    Federal Fund (FF) Appropriations: $1,590,769,363
•    School Foundation Program (SFP) Appropriations: $1,792,110,902
•    Other Fund (OF) Appropriations: $2,361,335,058
•    Total Appropriations in Budget Bill: $8,633,253,123

7,685 Total Authorized Positions (7,381 full-time and 304 part-time)

Department of Health – Appropriations of $1,858,764,059 ($908.8 million GF; $806.0 million FF; and $143.9 million OF). In addition to these amounts, the bill includes appropriations of $21.37 million GF effective immediately (Section 326) to address immediate needs in FY 2018 and $23,437,456 GF to an account within the State Auditor’s office for potential supplemental requests of the Department of Health and the Department of Family Services.

Department of Family Services – Appropriations of $294,145,580 ($147.2 million GF; $137.5 million FF; and $9.4 million OF). In addition to these amounts, the bill includes appropriations of $23,437,456 GF to an account within the State Auditor’s Office for potential supplemental requests of the Department of Health and the Department of Family Services.

Community Colleges – Appropriations of $246,065,222 ($240.6 million GF; $1.9 million FF; and $3.6 million OF).

State Lands and Investments – Appropriations of $103,199,926 ($23.1 million GF; $33.6 million FF; and $46.4 million OF).

University of Wyoming – Appropriations of $379,959,114 GF.

Department of Corrections – Appropriations of $276,434,039 ($260.0 million GF; $0.4 million FF, $16.0 million OF).

K-12 Foundation Program – Appropriations of $1,757,607,097 from the School Foundation Program account.

Major Maintenance for State Facilities and Schools – Appropriations of $110.5 million GF for state, community college, and University of Wyoming properties; $144.5 million from the School Capital Construction Account for K-12 school district major maintenance.

HB0001 was assigned Chapter Number 134 in Session Laws of Wyoming 2018 on March 16, 2018.

The 2019 General Session will convene January 8.

Brenda

Brenda

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