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State would feel fall from 'cliff,' says Mead

Dec 7, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Gov. Matt Mead says it's clear that Wyoming would take a big financial hit if Congress fails to reach a deficit-reduction agreement to avert the end-of-year "fiscal cliff."

As time grows short, governors around the country are facing the prospect that failure to reach an agreement would see income taxes rise next year and deep cuts in federal spending on defense and other programs. President Obama and House Republicans have been wrestling the issue since last month's presidential election.

"At least from my standpoint, we recognize that there's got to be cuts, and I also recognize I think there's got to be additional revenue," Mead told The Associated Press on Thursday.

With federal dollars helping to support all sorts of state government operations and programs, Mead, a Republican, said totaling up what the state stands to lose in the event Washington can't reach an agreement would be an enormous task. And he said it's not a task he's inclined to have state government undertake unless events make it necessary.

"I think of all the ways the federal government is intertwined with state finance," Mead said. "Department of Education, we get a huge amount of money from the federal Department of Education. Workforce Services, we get a lot of federal money. Certainly the Guard, certainly highways. Health care, my gosh. Outside of Medicaid issues, think of the programs that could be affected."

Mead last week submitted his own state budget proposal to state lawmakers who will convene in January.

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