Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Republicans Prioritize Savings,
Tax Relief as Session Kicks Off

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Ogden Driskill and Albert Sommers

During the week beginning Jan. 16, we had the great honor of calling to order the start of the 67th General Session of the Wyoming State Legislature. Now begins the hard work on behalf of the residents of our great state.

We are committed to upholding the rules and traditions of this institution to ensure fairness and respect, building up leaders at every level and debating policies on merit and substance. 

Wyoming solutions are needed to address challenges which lie ahead. We have never taken our cues from Washington, D.C., and it would be a grave mistake to start now. The people of our great state deserve better.

To be sure, we have our work cut out. During this session, the legislature will decide how to allocate a nearly $2 billion budget surplus. Much of this is a one-time windfall, which owes to improved revenues from oil and gas production, smart investments and federal stimulus spending. 

It does not represent a wholesale change to our long-term economic outlook. 

As the House and Senate have in years past, we will prioritize savings, with the goal of putting these funds into short-, mid- and long-term endowments and savings, which will benefit future generations. 

We are stewards of taxpayers’ money, and as recent history has shown, it’s not a matter of whether the good times will last, but rather how long until they run out.

We are committed to fiscal responsibility and reducing tax burdens hurting the men and women who are working hardest. In fact, our state is on the cusp of a residential property tax crisis, in which hardworking families are often faced with the unimaginable decision of selling their home just to pay the tax bill. 

In the supplemental budget bill, the legislature has fully funded the Property Tax Refund Program at $5 million to provide relief to our most vulnerable, like retirees and critical workers, who are facing financial hardships due to inflationary pressures. 

We will continue to fight for commonsense solutions to cap or rollback property tax increases and make our tax structure simpler and fairer.

As we consider spending, our focus will be on our state’s greatest needs, like education and infrastructure, creating efficiencies, removing bureaucratic red tape in the way of economic growth and protecting Wyoming’s most vulnerable citizens. 

Funding an education system preparing all our young people to succeed is perhaps the highest duty of the legislature. Every dollar invested wisely in our schools benefits our communities, and we will work to establish sustainable revenue streams to ensure Wyoming remains a leader in education, nationally and globally. 

At the same time, we will strive to craft policy fostering economic growth and diversification to help create economic opportunity and stop the “brain drain” of young people having to move out of state to find good jobs. 

Over the past decade, Wyoming has offset its reliance on mineral extraction revenues by nearly 20 percent. This is a remarkable accomplishment, which can be owed to pragmatic policymaking which has made Wyoming a destination for new industries.

Finally, we will continue to support Wyoming’s traditional energy producers, which have been and will remain a key driver of our economy. 

Forward-looking investments in carbon capture and hydrogen production, as examples, are helping to secure a cleaner, independent energy future for our state and our country. And this progress is far from done.

Wyoming is one of a few states with a citizen legislature. Our members come from all walks of life. The diverse personal and professional experiences each bring are tremendous assets. 

We look forward to drawing on this collective knowledge and working with all members to set our great state on a path of continued opportunity and prosperity. And we hope the residents of Wyoming will join us.  

Ogden Driskill is the president of the Senate and has served in the Wyoming Legislature since 2011. Albert Sommers is the speaker of the House and has served in the legislature since 2013. They can be reached by visiting

  • Posted in Guest Opinions
  • Comments Off on Republicans Prioritize Savings,
    Tax Relief as Session Kicks Off
Back to top