Today the Senate Budget Committee, chaired by U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., approved the FY 2018 Budget Resolution focused on providing Congress with the tools it needs to enact tax reform to grow America’s economy and encourage policies that would help Wyoming. The full Senate is expected to consider the committee’s budget proposal in the coming weeks.
“This budget is a step toward a brighter future,” Enzi said. “It reflects the belief that many of us share that by allowing American families and small businesses to keep more of their hard-earned dollars, they will innovate and invest that money in ways that will grow our economy. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support America’s hardworking families and help get our nation on a better course. Approving this pro-growth budget is an important first step in doing that.”
Noting that America’s economy has not been growing as steadily in the past 10 years as it did in the prior 20 years, Enzi said the new budget would put in motion a process for pro-growth tax reform that will cut taxes on American families and job creators by a net $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
“Some might think that America’s best economic days are behind us,” Enzi said. “But we on this panel believe that our nation’s best days – and those of its citizens – are ahead of us.”
Enzi’s budget would also encourage Senate authorizing committees to address what Enzi sees as important priorities for Wyoming. While the budget does not prescribe specific reforms in these areas, it encourages committees to act on legislation addressing forest health and wildfire prevention, state mineral revenues, soda ash royalty rates and Payments In Lieu of Taxes.
Forest health continues to be an issue in Wyoming and the West. Enzi would like to eliminate some of the red tape and unnecessary litigation preventing forest managers from taking actions such as getting rid of dead, pine beetle-killed timber to prevent wildfires and improve forest health.
Enzi has led the Wyoming delegation in an effort to ensure that the state and federal government go back to evenly splitting mineral royalty revenue, instead of the federal government charging the state a 2 percent processing fee.
Soda ash production is also a priority for Wyoming, and Enzi has joined the Wyoming delegation in calling for the BLM to reduce its 6 percent soda ash royalty to 2 percent to increase Wyoming soda ash exports and jobs.
Much of Wyoming land is under federal control so counties are unable to obtain property tax revenue from a large portion of the state, but they still provide government services on those lands. Enzi’s resolution supports Payments In Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, funds, which are distributed to the counties to make up for this imbalance.
The budget resolution is the broad framework or outline Congress sets for spending and is not signed by the president. The resolution will move to the Senate floor where members will be able to contribute and offer amendments before voting on the measure. The House and Senate will have to form a conference committee to resolve the differences between their two resolutions.