2016 News Releases
February 8, 2017
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead has initiated an effort to develop a twenty-year comprehensive and coordinated economic diversification strategy known as ENDOW -- “Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming.” The goals are to encourage the expansion and diversification of Wyoming’s existing energy and industrial sectors, stimulate new and emerging industries, create private sector jobs and encourage business development, entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Building on the successes we’ve achieved, I continue to work for economic diversification,” said Governor Mead. “We need a long-term plan that goes beyond one Governor’s time in office. A plan which complements our strengths and increases our economic opportunities in energy, tourism and agriculture, expands our economic base overall, and provides opportunities for our youth today and tomorrow. I am asking for the people of Wyoming to share their ideas as we undertake the ENDOW Initiative.”
The Governor’s office developed a survey and is asking for input from citizens. The public’s response to this request for information will inform the ENDOW Initiative moving forward. Through this survey, the Governor is also soliciting nominations of individuals interested in serving in some capacity as the ENDOW Initiative moves forward.
The survey can be found on the Governor’s website and at this link: ENDOW Survey.
The deadline for submitting information is April 2, 2017.
January 31, 2017
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead released the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration:
“As I expressed to President Obama, Wyoming recognizes immigration made this country great. The citizens of Wyoming and the entire United States must be able to rely on the government to have a process in place that allows robust immigration and that does not allow terrorists into our country. I hope President Trump’s Administration can find the right way forward in these matters so critical to the future of our nation.”
January 18, 2017
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming is a leader in providing broadband internet to schools according to a report issued by Education SuperHighway. Education SuperHighway is a non-profit organization that monitors and provides expertise to help states improve school internet connectivity. Governor Matt Mead has made improving Internet connectivity one of his priorities.
"By any measure, Wyoming places a high value on education," Mead said. "As a rural state, we understand the value of internet connectivity to student learning. Our investment in the statewide unified network gives our students the opportunity to compete on a national and global scale. We have successfully upgraded all schools to a minimum of 200Kbps per student. This is double the original goal, and exceeds national norms."
"Ensuring our students are prepared for tomorrow's world is a top priority and internet connectivity is a vital piece of making that happen,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Having extensive broadband capacity across the state allows us to focus on supporting teachers in being able to take advantage of the opportunities they now have in their classrooms."
Along with providing double the minimum connectivity goal, the report also found that 88% of schools have the fiber connections needed to keep up with growing bandwidth demand and 79% of school districts report sufficient wi-fi.
"We continue to work with schools to assure that students and teachers in Wyoming classrooms have access to high quality connectivity. In the world of technology, the challenge is to keep pace with rapid changes. Wyoming is well equipped to continue leading the nation in connectivity for schools," Mead concluded.
January 16, 2017
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead proclaimed January 16, 2017 as Martin Luther King Jr.,Wyoming Equality Day. The Governor was joined by State Representative Jim Byrd, whose mother, former Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Byrd, advocated for the state to officially recognize the day during her time in the Legislature. Congress passed legislation recognizing Dr. King’s birthday as a holiday which was then signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.
“Wyoming -- the Equality State -- joins the nation in celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and the ideals for which he stood. His principles are American principles,” the Governor wrote in the proclamation. “The people of Wyoming are committed to equality, respect and dignity for all people.”
The Wyoming Legislature set aside the third Monday of each January to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
January 12, 2017
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The largest online retail business in the United States has entered into a voluntary collection agreement with the State of Wyoming. Amazon will begin collecting tax on its sales to Wyoming consumers and businesses beginning March 1st of 2017.
The news comes at a time when Wyoming is facing an historic budget crisis. The additional tax collections will not come close to solving the issues the State faces, but will obviously help.
Amazon has recently moved to collect taxes in Utah, Iowa, Nebraska and most recently in South Dakota. A review of their website identified 34 states and the District of Columbia where Amazon is collecting sales tax.
“Wyoming businesses are at a disadvantage when internet businesses fail to collect tax,” said Governor Mead. “This is an important step in the right direction. I encourage the Legislature to continue to work on the remote seller's bill.”
The voluntary agreement with Amazon does not provide resolution of Wyoming’s long standing effort to require collection of sales tax by remote vendors through ongoing membership in the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board. It does, however, indicate that sales taxes can be collected by online vendors from their customers.
The effect on the state revenues is difficult to project. More will be known after the vendor has remitted for a year which will also include seasonal and holiday sales.
Research has been published on the amount of revenue lost to electronic commerce by Wyoming and other states and there are estimates available. From a study conducted by the University of Tennessee in 2009 the estimate of total losses of revenue from E-commerce transactions in Wyoming was 28.6 million in sales taxes for 2012. The Legislature is considering a remote sales bill which would apply to all internet sales.
January 11, 2017
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Today, Governor Matt Mead delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the 64th Wyoming Legislature. The Governor shared his priorities for the legislative session, including K-12 education funding, his energy and water initiatives, the budget and economic development.
“I’m pleased to report that, though we face challenging times, Wyoming remains strong,” said the Governor. “Our state has prepared well for times of lower revenue and our citizens continue to do great things, contributing to Wyoming’s strength and success.”
On education funding, Governor Mead pointed out the projected shortfall beginning in the 2019-20 biennium in school operations is $1.5 billion over six years. He again asked the Legislature to consider forming a task force or other committee that includes the public, educators, school boards and parents.
“The School Foundation Program can fund K-12 school operations through the biennium but not beyond,” Governor Mead said. “We need to act deliberately and have a broad public discussion. We should consider every idea.”
The Governor had several special guests in attendance from across Wyoming that he recognized:
The Governor closed his speech by expressing hope that the new Administration in Washington, D.C. will be positive for Wyoming.
“I am heartened about the prospect of fewer federal regulations and pro-growth economic policies,” said Governor Mead. “I am hopeful the new administration will see the benefits of what states like Wyoming have done in responsibly developing our resources.”
Video of the speech are available on the Governor’s website governor.wyo.gov.
December 20, 2016
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead is pleased with today’s decision in a long-running dispute with the state of Montana over the Yellowstone River Compact. The case began in 2007 with Montana’s claims that Wyoming did not properly interpret the Compact in the Tongue and Powder River basins. The case eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court who appointed a Special Master to hear the case and issue a ruling.
“The Special Master has issued a solution with two practical options for the damages owed to Montana,” said Governor Mead. “We look forward to working with our neighbors to quickly bring this case to a close. I thank the Special Master for his work as well as the Attorney General’s and State Engineer’s offices for their exceptional work.”
“This outcome reflects the enormous work and dedication by the team in the Natural Resources Division of the Attorney General’s office and the State Engineer’s Office,” said Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael.
Today’s ruling awarded Montana either approximately $35,000 in damages or 1356 acre feet of water. The Special Master divided the litigation costs equitably based on the issues won during the various phases of the case.
The Special Master’s ruling is available on the Attorney General’s website: http://ag.wyo.gov/current-issues
December 12, 2016
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead applauded the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Park Service (NPS), and the Grand Teton National Park Foundation for finalizing the purchase of the 640-acre Antelope Flats parcel of state school trust land within Grand Teton National Park. The NPS purchased the parcel for $46 million - $23 million from the federal government and $23 million from private donations through the Grand Teton National Park Foundation. That money will go to the Common School Trust Fund to support Wyoming schools.
"This is the best outcome for this land. The parcel was generating no revenue for Wyoming schools which raised the possibility of it being sold at public auction. That option was unacceptable to me. This tract will now be available for the public in perpetuity,” said Governor Mead. “I thank Secretary Sally Jewell, the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and every private donor that contributed to make this day a reality. I also want to thank the Legislature, Treasurer Gordon and Auditor Cloud for their support, and Bridget Hill and her staff."
The income generated on the Common School Trust Fund account varies, however it is anticipated that funds from this sale will generate more than $1 million annually for public education. The funds are also available for the Board of Land Commissioners to acquire land assets held by the federal government.
“It is extremely pleasing that all the continued years of hard work and effort regarding this parcel have been rewarded today,” said Bridget Hill, Director of the Office of State Lands and Investments. “This sale represents a huge win for Wyoming’s schools and education funding. As an added benefit, not only were we able to fulfill the Board’s fiduciary obligation to generate revenue from the state school trust lands both now and into the future, but at the same time we were able to help preserve the long-term beauty of one of our State’s real treasures, the Grand Teton National Park.”
December 9, 2016
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is pleased to announce that Magpul Industries will be the title sponsor of the first annual Governor’s Match action shooting competition, to be held in Cheyenne, Wyoming August 3 - 6, 2017. The “Magpul Governors Match,” held at the Otto Road Shooting Range in Cheyenne, will bring shooters from throughout the United States to compete in challenging courses of fire. Competition Dynamics, the events promoter, describes the match as a “modern action two-gun match for semi-automatic rifles and handguns.”
“Hunting, firearms and the shooting sports are part of the history, tradition and culture of Wyoming and the West,” said Governor Mead. “I am proud that we can host competitions like this in Wyoming – bringing these great athletes here to test themselves against each other and the event.”
The match will contain 8 action shooting “stages” - testing the speed and accuracy of competitors with both handguns and rifles. Each stage will be unique, with stage designers such as Navy Seal Commander Rorke Denver, Northern Red Training’s Scott Steiert, long-range specialist John Burns and the instructors from Magpul CORE.
“Access to shooting sports and shooting ranges increases public participation and benefits our sportsmen and our local communities,” said Governor Mead. “Participation and investment in the shooting sports is an investment in future generations of sportsmen and sportswomen. It is good for Wyoming.”
More information on the competition can be found at http://governorsmatch.com.
November 30, 2016
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead held a press conference today to discuss his supplemental budget for the 2017-2018 biennium. The Legislature will consider the Governor’s recommendations during the upcoming General Session which begins January 10, 2017. The Governor reviewed cuts he has already made due to declining state revenues and discussed the steps being taken to keep Wyoming moving forward.
“Wyoming has prepared for times of reduced revenue and remains fiscally sound,” said Governor Mead. “In June I asked agencies for $249 million in reductions. Those were difficult but necessary cuts. It is worth noting that the executive branch standard budget was $2.9 billion in 2010 and is now $2.589 billion – it has gone down not up,” continued Governor Mead.
The Governor’s budget contains limited exception requests, including $5 million for local government, $500,000 for the University of Wyoming Science Initiative and $2.5 million for Economically Needed Diversification Options for Wyoming (ENDOW). Earlier this month Governor Mead announced the ENDOW initiative. The goal of ENDOW is to bring together key business leaders to help create a strategy for growing and diversifying the state’s economy years into the future.
“We need a strategy that keeps Wyoming moving ahead with diversification efforts long after my term as Governor,” continued Governor Mead. “We have seen success but we need to do more. It is important that we continue to send the message that Wyoming is open for business and open to business diversity.”
Other recommendations in the Governor’s budget include:
Governor Mead emphasized the need to act quickly on the key challenge – school funding. The shortfall in the School Foundation Program Account has been estimated at $1.5 billion over the next six years. The Governor asked legislators to work with him to find a long-term funding solution.
The Governor’s budget message is available on his website: governor.wyo.gov/documents/legislative.