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2012 News Releases

Wyoming and National Park Service Finish Second Land Sale with Grand Teton

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:44 AM by Unknown user

12/28/2012 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 28, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov


Wyoming and National Park Service Finish Second Land Sale with Grand Teton

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Governor Matt Mead applauded the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service for finalizing the purchase of an 86-acre parcel of state land. This is the second sale of state land inside Grand Teton National Park and is part of an agreement made in 2010. The $16 million from the federal government will go to the Wyoming Permanent Land Fund, which can be used to purchase other land for the state.

“I am pleased that we reached this stage in exchanging all of the state parcels inside Grand Teton National Park. The best outcome for all involved is for this land to be part of the National Park. I appreciate the work of Secretary Ken Salazar and Director Jon Jarvis in finalizing this second sale and I look forward to working with them to complete the final transactions,” Governor Mead said.

The Wyoming constitution says the State Board of Land Commissioners must use state trust lands to realize the largest possible proceeds for Wyoming schools.

Governor: 2012 Was Significant Year for Wyoming

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:43 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 16, 2013, 11:55 AM ]

12/21/2012 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 21, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov

 

Governor: 2012 Was Significant Year for Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Over the last year Wyoming saw a record wildfire season, construction begin on a data center that could usher in further economic diversification and the public helping to build the foundation for a Wyoming energy strategy. This was Governor Matt Mead’s second year in office.

Looking ahead to 2013 Governor Mead has proposed a budget that can position Wyoming well for the future.

Governor Mead also pointed to strides in making state government more efficient. This included the completion of the consolidation of the Departments of Workforce Services and Employment into one agency. Also, in 2012 state Information Technology services were consolidated into one agency. This saved over $1,000,000 and reduced the size of government by 14 positions.

This was also the year that Wyoming took over management of wolves.

Attached is audio from Governor Mead.

2012 Awed by Wyoming People

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The Governor and First Lady helping to light Wyoming's Christmas Tree, which is in the State Capitol.

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:42 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 17, 2013, 8:20 AM ]

 

Governor Matt Mead and First Lady Carol Mead participated in the 35thAnnual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

12/12/2012 

 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 12, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov



Governor and First Lady Light Wyoming’s Christmas Tree


CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Governor Matt Mead and First Lady Carol Mead participated in the 35th Annual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Governor Calls for Moment of Silence Friday

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:41 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 17, 2013, 8:20 AM ]

12/19/2012 

 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 19, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov



Governor Calls for Moment of Silence Friday


CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Governor Matt Mead is joining other governors from across the nation in requesting citizens observe a moment of silence and remembrance to honor the victims of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. The moment of silence will take start at 9:30 a.m., Friday, December 21. Governor Mead also asks that places of worship ring their bells 26 times during that moment. Governor Dannel Malloy from Connecticut asked governors to join in this remembrance.

“We were all shaken by the loss of lives,” Governor Mead said. “I believe it is fitting that Wyoming join the nation in pausing to remember the 20 children and six teachers taken too soon. Please join me Friday morning at 9:30 in silence to reflect on this tragedy.”

Task Force Presents Recommendation for Tier 1 Engineering School

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:41 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 16, 2013, 9:00 AM ]

12/14/2012 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 14, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov

 

Task Force Presents Recommendations for Tier 1 Engineering School

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  The Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force released its strategy for creating a Tier 1 Engineering program at the University of Wyoming today. Governor Matt Mead created the Task Force and charged its members to develop an approach for the University to establish an academic and research institution of excellence appropriate for Wyoming.

Governor Mead specifically wanted ideas focused on the engineering program, rather than the building, for which the state is already preparing to spend over $100 million to construct. “The members of the Task Force care deeply about Wyoming and we share a desire to have UW be a national leader in engineering. I thank the members of the Task Force for their expertise and their personal investment in this effort,” Governor Mead said. “These recommendations lay out a course towards excellence that will benefit the entire state.”

The Task Force is chaired by Governor Dave Freudenthal and Chad Deaton, the Executive Chairman of Baker Hughes. Both are University of Wyoming alumni. The Task Force report states, “We strongly believe that while we don’t have the same resource base as many well-known engineering schools this should not stop us from pursuing Tier 1 status. It does mean, however, that prioritization of our resources is absolutely critical… Determined leadership from all sectors is key.”

Governor Mead pledged his commitment to the Task Force’s recommendations. “Now is a time to move Wyoming forward in the research and instruction done at UW. One of the most powerful research supercomputers in the world is now operating in Wyoming. With our diverse and abundant energy reserves, our state also presents an opportunity for real-world problem solving for students and faculty alike. Cutting-edge work is already being done at UW and we want to build on it.”

“The University appreciates the efforts of the Task Force, the Governor and the Legislature to help our College of Engineering and Applied Science reach greater heights,” UW President Tom Buchanan said. “These recommendations for programmatic improvements, combined with existing and proposed legislative appropriations for facilities, represent a remarkable opportunity for the University to become an even more significant intellectual and economic catalyst for Wyoming. We look forward to the challenge of developing a multifaceted effort which will meet the directive of the Legislature, and the expectations of those who recognize how important it is for us to succeed.”

The full report is attached.

Gov Remembers and Honors Those Who Serve and Those Served

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:40 AM by Unknown user


12/10/2012 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 10, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov

 


Governor Remembers and Honors Those Who Serve and Those Served

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead joined veterans, members of the military and family members of those serving for a wreath laying ceremony at the Capitol. This is part of the national, Wreaths Across America program. The program honors veterans and those who are active military by placing wreaths at the Arlington National Cemetery each December.

Governor Supports Responsive Management of Shoshone National Forest

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:39 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 16, 2013, 9:02 AM ]

12/6/2012 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 6, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov


Governor Supports Responsive Management of Shoshone National Forest

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  The Shoshone National Forest is the oldest national forest in the country and for the past several years officials and the public have been engaged in updating the management plan for the Forest. In his comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Governor Matt Mead noted that the new Land Management Plan will guide the Forest for the next 15 years. Governor Mead wrote, “A balanced plan, one that respects multiple use and sustained yield principles, is essential in providing diverse opportunities.”

Governor Mead said he generally supports the management alternative which does not expand designated wilderness areas. Currently, 84% of the Forest’s 2.4 million acres already have some sort of management limitation because they are either wilderness or roadless areas. 

“For the remaining portion of the Shoshone, I believe the Forest Service has a good option before it. This plan continues management practices that are working and is responsive to the public,” Governor Mead said.

Governor Mead’s suggestions to the Forest Service include:

--      Address alternative timber product industries to deal with the sweeping effects of insect infestations.

--       Work with the Wyoming State Trails Program to develop a map for snowmobilers to understand what areas they can use to minimize conflicts with other forest users.

--      Do not limit group sizes for non-motorized users, which includes the National Outdoor Leadership School.

--       Reassess the economic analysis for livestock grazing used in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

--       Develop a no surface occupancy stipulation for oil and gas development in certain areas (refer to the attached maps in Governor Mead's letter to Forest Supervisor Joe Alexander).

Governor Impressed with Public Involvement with Energy Strategy

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:38 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 17, 2013, 7:33 AM ]

12/5/2012 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 5, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov


Governor Impressed with Public Involvement with Energy Strategy

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Governor Matt Mead is asking that the public participate in public meetings via the internet or in person over the next two days. The focus of the meetings is the energy strategy. Governor Mead believes the energy strategy will establish Wyoming as the standard bearer in recognizing that energy, the environment and the economy are inseparable and compatible and in leading the nation in energy development, regulation, innovation and stewardship.

The public events and webinars will be held Thursday and Friday (December 6 and 7) to review the proposed initiatives. Agendas for the meetings and a list of the initiatives is available on the Governor’s website. (http://governor.wy.gov/Pages/energystrategy.aspx)

Below are audio clips of Governor Mead discussing the Energy Strategy.

Energy Strategy Will Be Ever Changing

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 – Governor Mead explains that public meetings will help refine the strategy.

Energy Strategy Buy In

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 – Governor Mead explains how encouraged he is by the involvement of a broad spectrum of people.

Governor Asks AG to Intervene in Uranium Lawsuit

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:38 AM by Unknown user

12/5/2012 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


December 5, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov


Governor Asks AG to Intervene in Uranium Lawsuit

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Governor Matt Mead instructed the Wyoming Attorney General to file a motion to intervene in the lawsuit over in-situ uranium mining at the Lost Creek Mine. The motion was filed this week in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. An environmental group seeks to shut the project down over concerns to wildlife and groundwater. Governor Mead is seeking to intervene to protect Wyoming’s interests in the project.

“Wyoming has put a lot of resources into making sure this mine operates in a safe and responsible manner,” Governor Mead said. “This project provides energy for the nation, jobs for Wyoming and revenue to local, state and federal governments.”

The Lost Creek Mine is in Sweetwater County and the project area includes a section of state land. Wyoming estimates it will receive over $19 million in severance tax revenue and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates 160 jobs would result.

“Work on permitting this project started over five years ago and I believe state agencies and Ur-Energy have done sound work to protect Wyoming’s water and wildlife. This includes mitigating impacts to sage-grouse. Ur-Energy, as a company, committed to do things right,” Governor Mead said. He has determined that the project complies with the Greater Sage-Grouse Core Area Protection Executive Order.

Wyoming has the most uranium reserves in the nation.

Governor Builds for the Future with Budget Proposal

posted Sep 13, 2013, 10:36 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 16, 2013, 10:31 AM ]

11/30/2012 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437


November 30, 2012


******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******

Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov

 

Governor Builds for the Future with Budget Proposal

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  Governor Matt Mead’s budget proposal focuses on a more efficient and effective government that positions Wyoming well for the future. The supplemental budget proposal, submitted to the Legislature today, combines reductions in spending and reductions in the size of government with investments in important one-time projects. The Governor’s recommendations reduce ongoing spending by over $60 million per year, which is more than a 6% annual reduction in ongoing general fund spending, and eliminates 86 vacant positions.

“I believe my proposed budget continues our history of fiscal conservatism and lays out specific ideas that ensure a bright future for Wyoming,” Governor Mead said. “The comprehensive approach we have taken is needed to deal with revenues that are flattening out, with the costs of a historic fire season and with a loss of $700 million in Abandoned Mine Land money.”

Governor Mead’s proposed reductions exceed the 4% that the Legislature proactively asked state agencies to prepare for fiscal year 2014. Governor Mead had asked agencies to propose 8% cuts in light of lowered natural gas prices and ongoing state spending that more than doubled over the last decade. Agencies submitted proposals to Governor Mead and he reviewed those proposals thoroughly before making his own recommendations today.

“These reductions build on my efforts to solidify a long-term philosophy of government that operates optimally in all years – the lean and the abundant,” Governor Mead said. “It was important to me that these reductions be sustainable so we move forward with a smaller state government for the long haul.”

Governor Mead said, “We do not take our fiscal strength for granted. We know we cannot continue on the trajectory of the decade past, where the standard budget more than doubled.”

The proposed budget reductions include a 10% decrease for the Governor’s Office and Governor’s Residence. For other agencies Governor Mead reviewed each proposal and made decisions on an agency-by-agency basis. The Governor recommends closer to 6% reductions for UW and the community colleges. The Department of Health is not part of the proposed reductions because the Legislature separately reduced its budget by 4% for fiscal year 2014.

Fiscal Policy Recommendations – Planning for Tomorrow

“Wyoming through thoughtful Legislative planning and prudent budgeting has built strong reserves both permanent and as backstops that can be spent in unforeseen circumstances,” Governor Mead wrote in a letter to legislators that accompanied his budget proposal. He emphasized that now is an appropriate time to review the state’s investment structure. He also made several bold recommendations that will help Wyoming weather future fiscal storms and maintain a conservative fiscal course in times of abundance.

Currently 2.5% percent of severance taxes go into the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund (PMTF). Of that percentage, 1.5% are constitutionally directed and 1% are statutorily directed. Governor Mead is proposing that the statutory 1% of the revenue instead go into an account that can used in tough fiscal times called the “Rainy Day Account.” He also proposes that new coal lease bonuses be deposited into the same account. The money from coal leases now goes to the School Capitol Construction Account (SCCA). The Governor’s proposal continues to build the SCCA to $600 million for the next five years without the additional new coal bonuses.

“It is proper that all available resources set aside for ‘rainy days’ be housed in a single pool – this allows decisions to be made considering the total circumstances and Wyoming’s obligations to its entire citizenry – whether they be school children, college students, adults with developmental disabilities, businesses seeking startup funds or recreationists visiting state parks,” Governor Mead wrote. His proposal is that both the redirected 1% and new coal lease bonuses be deposited into a single account to build a balance that is substantial enough to provide a backstop for general obligations and for funding schools, if circumstances necessitate.

These proposals make for more transparent government because they place all the savings into a single account rather than depositing them in several places that can create confusion.

Governor Mead agrees with the Legislature’s direction related to investment income. He would include capital gains as part of forecasted revenue, the same as for severance and sales taxes. Governor Mead points out that Wyoming continues to benefit from prudent investments and has seen significant revenue from those investments. However, because all investment income is not included in revenue forecasts it cannot be used when planning future budgets. Governor Mead said, “In lean years, like those we now face, a conscious decision to ignore significant revenue – revenue we know about – in making official revenue projections does a disservice to Wyoming and limits my ability to prepare rational budgets.”

Efficient and Effective Government

Governor Mead’s proposal includes a salary increase for employees across all of state government, including UW, colleges and non-judge employees in the judiciary. His proposal is for $8.5 million in salary increases and $2.5 million in one-time merit based bonuses. “No business succeeds without a qualified, motivated workforce – employees are our most valuable asset. They are the core of effective, efficient government,” Governor Mead said. His proposal is based on the comprehensive employee performance management system, which was finalized in late 2011 and provides expectations and goals and feedback for employees to help them improve and succeed.

Wyoming represents a model of how government should work, but there is room to improve efficiency and transparency in rules and regulations. Wyoming has nearly 18,000 rules from state agencies. Governor Mead is proposing to review the rules on the books and to formulate a plan to reduce and simplify them. “I want citizens to clearly see and understand the purpose of a rule and make sure it is easy for them to comply with any rule.”

Investments in Tomorrow

Governor Mead’s budget is a strong investment in Wyoming’s future. Education, workforce training and workforce safety are priorities for his administration. This budget maintains funding for K-12 education and school construction. He recommends salary increases for employees of the University and colleges, trimmed cuts for UW and the colleges from 8% to 6% and does not reduce spending for workforce training or safety programs. There were no reductions recommended for tuition programs that support veterans.

“Investing in education ensures our citizens have economic opportunity and businesses can rely on a talented Wyoming workforce,” Governor Mead said.

Governor Mead also proposes other one-time expenditures important to Wyoming’s future. These include money for: local governments, landfills, the Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, replenishing the data center recruitment fund, and the Gillette-Madison water project.

“These proposals improve Wyoming’s future while not growing next year’s budget. They build on our successes in diversifying the economy, protect our natural resources and improve the quality of life for Wyoming citizens,” Governor Mead said.

This year a record 550,000 acres burned across Wyoming. Fire costs totaled about $108 million and the state’s share is nearly half of that total. To cover the shortfall in fire funding and prepare for next year Governor Mead proposes $60 million from the $150 million the Legislature set aside last session as a safeguard against a revenue shortfall. “By doing this Wyoming will adequately prepare for what could be another challenging fire season. Fire falls squarely into this safety net and this recommendation will leave Wyoming prepared to meet its commitment to safety with confidence,” Governor Mead said.

Roads and Highways

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) asked for an additional $50 million from the general fund. WYDOT estimates $134 million per year is needed to maintain Wyoming’s roads. Governor Mead rejected WYDOT’s request for one-time funding. “Every part of Wyoming’s economy relies on an effective, well-maintained and continually improved highway system. WYDOT projects are planned years into the future – good planning, reasonable costs and effective management can only be achieved through reliable, long-term funding,” Governor Mead said. He said this year is the time to develop a long-term solution and, of all the funding sources, he believes fuel tax is the most fair and least expensive for Wyoming citizens. He added that in the event the Legislature does not pass an increase, lawmakers should earmark a like amount of revenue for highways from mineral revenues.

Health

The Wyoming Department Health receives the largest share of the state funding. For this biennium DOH will get just under $1 billion from the general fund and Budget Reserve Account. Of that more than half of the budget goes to the Medicaid program. Both of these totals account for a 4% reduction of funding for fiscal year 2014 that was passed earlier this year.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), states are required to expand Medicaid for certain populations. Governor Mead approved an increase of $6.7 million for that required expansion. He denied the optional expansion of Medicaid and asks for a public discussion exploring the effects of Medicaid expansion on Wyoming’s people. He also believes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) needs to finalize regulations and answer states’ questions about expansion. In his message to lawmakers Governor Mead wrote, “My office will continue to work with HHS to get as many answers as possible to enable us to make a decision this session. I stand ready to work with you on this important question – understanding as do you that it will have far-reaching implications no matter what is decided.”

The ACA also requires the establishment of a health insurance exchange. A health insurance exchange can be run by the federal government, by an individual state or by a partnership. The first deadline to choose which of these options Wyoming prefers is January 2013. Unanswered questions and legislative conditions make it likely that when these exchanges start operating in 2014 Wyoming will have a federal exchange. However, Wyoming can opt at any time to change to one of the other options. Governor Mead recommends $100,000 to assist in the process of deciding which option is best for Wyoming. “Now is the time to be proactive and decide what exchange is the best for Wyoming in the long term.”

Governor Mead’s entire Budget Message is available on his website.

Cuts Falling Revenue

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Build for the Future

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Making Cuts

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