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Federal Budget Cuts Eyed by WYO Groups

April 7, 2011

CASPER, Wyo. - What happens in Washington, D.C., doesn't stay in D.C. It travels to states, towns and neighborhoods, according to Dan Neal with the Equality State Policy Center.

He recently visited with the state's congressional delegation about federal budget cuts that have been placed on the table. He says he was striving to help them connect the dots between those spending choices and how they affect local businesses, children, seniors and the economy.

"They affect children's programs like Early Head Start and Head Start, volunteer programs like AmeriCorps and senior volunteers, grants that fund outfits like the downtown clinic in Laramie."

Neal also proposed that Congress take a look at Wyoming's playbook when it comes to mineral severance taxes. He suggests a debate about a national severance tax as a new stream of revenue - just like Wyoming has in place, as well as other states.

"Everyone here knows how important those severance tax revenues are to the state in helping us fund the programs that make it possible for those multi-national energy companies to make millions of dollars."

Neal says Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barasso told him they were not directly involved in those decisions, although he felt they did listen to the concerns. Republican Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis told Neal that she has been hearing from constituents who are concerned about local effects of federal cuts.

Neal traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of an effort by groups across the country to highlight effects of federal budget cuts at the local level.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY