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Legislature won't override Mead's vetoes

Feb 22, 2013 - By Ben Neary, The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming legislative leaders said Friday they won't try to override Gov. Matt Mead's vetoes of some sections of the state budget bill.

House Speaker Tom Lubnau, R-Gillette, and Senate President Tony Ross, R-Cheyenne, said they're generally satisfied with the budget bill.

It would take a two-thirds vote to override a veto, and such override efforts generally start in the House.

"I did an informal poll of my members last night, and there would be no way we could get one, even if we wanted to do it," Lubnau said.

Mead on Thursday vetoed a provision requiring most state agencies to propose budget reductions of 4, 6 and 8 percent for the coming two-year spending cycle. He also axed provisions that would have required the Wyoming Department of Health and the state judiciary to propose lesser cuts.

In his message to legislative leaders, Mead said state agencies shouldn't be required to propose detailed spending cuts before state financial analysts prepare their revenue projections.

Mead also vetoed language limiting state spending on wildfires to about $37 million. His action would allow spending over up to $60 million.

And Mead vetoed language in the budget bill that would have swept any leftover revenues from the state's general fund and budget reserve account into the state's rainy day fund halfway through the coming biennium. The governor said the money should remain accessible in case the state needs the money in the second year.

The budget bill the Legislature approved this year is a supplement to the two-year $3.2-billion general funds budget it approved last year. This year's bill calls for spending an additional $78 million, mainly for one-time projects, after accounting for $61 million in state agency budget reductions that averaged 6.5 percent.

"It's a pretty fair budget," Lubnau said. "Not everybody got what they wanted. But we got a good budget. The Legislature got the savings that they wanted, in the fashion that they wanted. We got spending cuts across a wide range of budgets."

In addition to his veto action, Mead criticized two aspects of the supplemental budget but stopped short of striking them out.

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Legislature, Wyoming