Governor Mark Gordon formally announced the launch of Power Wyoming this morning, a planning effort with an initial goal of providing an accurate and comprehensive analysis of Wyoming’s future revenue scenarios to Wyoming citizens and lawmakers. This effort also includes an analysis of policies impacting the state and will generate ideas to create new opportunities to benefit Wyoming.
“Knowledge is power,” Governor Gordon said. “Power Wyoming will arm Wyoming citizens and policy makers with data on a range of economic scenarios so we can all make informed decisions about our future moving forward.”
Governor Gordon’s office and state economists detailed preliminary data compiled by Power Wyoming this morning at a meeting of the Wyoming State Legislature’s Revenue Committee in Cheyenne. The group’s modeling showed scenarios of declining revenues for several years. The scenarios show that it is unlikely that Wyoming can continue to rely on a combination of coal, natural gas and oil revenues to sustain itself in the long-term. It also modeled a decline in population and jobs in the near term.
“The hard truth is, Wyoming faces many external pressures impacting our future and those have often seemed to drive our own economic fate,” continued Governor Gordon. “There are many economic forces out of our control, including other state and federal policies, market demands and world events. However, there are many ways we can control our destiny to position Wyoming for economic stability — but they require planning and action.”
Included in the Power Wyoming presentation was an overview of industry and governmental policies that are impacting energy production. Revenues and jobs from oil, gas and mining are the top drivers of Wyoming’s economy, and the state is the leading energy exporter in the nation by a wide margin.
“Wyoming is blessed to have such incredible energy resources,” Gov. Gordon said. “We need to position ourselves to plan for changes in energy production. We have now started the conversation, and I look forward to talking with all citizens about the future of our economy.”
“I want to compliment the Governor for his willingness to analyze the carbon
risk facing the state,” said Senator Cale Case, co-chairman of the Joint
Revenue Committee. “When I began serving in the legislature, we believed coal
would last 200 years. Now with both coal and natural gas in decline, we are
facing a new reality.”
“Now that we have a solid understanding of what
needs to happen, the real work begins,” added Representative and co-chairman
Dan Zwonitzer. “We are now faced with difficult policy decisions and decisions
about how best to solve our state’s structural deficit.”
Governor Gordon noted that Power Wyoming is a first-step in a process of understanding and tackling the state’s sizable revenue shortfalls in the near- and long-term. The immediate budget deficits faced by the State, as noted in the recently updated CREG projections, signal a need for further spending reductions coupled with strategic policy shifts over time. Power Wyoming also includes efforts to support locally-led planning efforts and establish more resources for those communities.