In a letter to the chairs of the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal formally requested approval of seven General Fund appropriations that are not included in any individual agency budget.
Among them is a $14.5 million appropriation to the Office of the Governor to be used for the recruitment of mega-data centers. The source of the funding is the unused portion of $16.8 million that had been set aside this summer for flood-recovery efforts in Fremont County.
While the final accounting to determine Federal reimbursements is ongoing, estimates are that a minimum of $14.5 million in unused flood money will revert to the General Fund, and it is that money that Governor Freudenthal recommends putting toward mega-data centers.
Freudenthal said, “We’re in a good position to attract these facilities because of our resources, like abundant, low-cost power and the Wyoming climate with its low humidity and low temperatures, but that’s just not enough.”
The Governor went on to say, “This funding will make Wyoming more competitive and improve our position as we compete to recruit mega-data centers to the state.”
Other budget details in the governor’s letter include: funding a $51 million Medicaid shortfall; $156 million divided equally among local governments, the Department of Transportation and the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account; $12 million for employee compensation at community colleges, the University of Wyoming and Wyoming Public Television; $610,000 for planning costs associated with the Niobrara Oil Play; $100,000 for the Governor’s Office budget for staffing expenses; and $16 million invested in various wildlife, education and cultural trust funds.
Freudenthal will submit his supplemental budget recommendations to the JAC Tuesday.