Where Are We Going, Wyoming? Courageous, Visionary Leaders Wanted
By Cindy DeLancey
Where are we going, Wyoming? I raise this question rhetorically, but with all seriousness, there are some hard truths before us, and our leaders are going to have to address them. As we move toward the 2021 General Session, I encourage all to help Wyoming find a new direction.
Recycling the same revenue bills which have failed year after year will not carry us to future success. Nor will cutting our governmental services to the bone.
We need new, big, bold ideas to help our leaders position Wyoming for the short term and the long term.
Hard fact number one – we can’t keep doing what we are doing.
Markets have changed. Our current and future economy is going to look very different than what has carried the state for generations.
Our friends in the minerals industry have paid the bills for the state for decades. Their success has been our collective success.
Wyoming’s extraction sector is under tremendous financial pressure right now. They are fighting hard to hold on and are under enormous regulatory assault.
Asking them to pay more when they have less does not seem to be a sound strategy for success. Simply put, the state has to find a new solution instead of asking the minerals sector to pay more of the bills.
Hard fact number two – change is hard. Wyoming must make some changes.
As industry leaders, Wyoming business owners are uniquely positioned to help bridge change for the state of Wyoming.
The private sector is the master of change. Change is how our businesses stay in business and ahead of the curve. Yes, it is hard and yes, it is painful, but this is what sets entrepreneurs apart.
By embracing change and seeking out opportunities, we can create a positive circumstance. Who isn’t a creature of habit? I love my favorite slippers and 10-year-old bathrobe.
Business leaders can set the example of how to embrace change. It is our responsibility to help drive the change we want and this is good for our state’s economy.
Basic business principles of living within our means, finding efficiencies and making smart investments with current resources are all things business owners do daily.
Hard fact number three – Wyoming’s K-12 education is on an unsustainable funding path. Gov. Mark Gordon’s analogy of a car driving 80 miles per hour with the cruise control on could not be more accurate in how the state is approaching education spending.
In Campbell IV, the Supreme Court found the legislature had enacted a system which complied with the state constitution. It also reinforced the legislature’s role in deciding what should be included in the educational basket of goods and in enacting the formula to be used in determining funding.
In my view, to get to where the state’s education needs to go, citizens need the legislature to evaluate and modernize the basket of goods to define their vision of what education is in Wyoming and then determine a modern formula to fund it.
I could continue my list with another three hard facts, but I think one can see where I am going with this message.
The year 2021 is proving to be every bit as hard as 2020, but if courageous, visionary leaders take the reins, guide the horse in a new direction and ride instead of being carried, Wyomingites could be very pleased where the state ends up. Let’s ride, cowboys.
Cindy DeLancey is the president of the Wyoming Business Alliance and the Wyoming Heritage Foundation. Cindy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.