Jobs and the Economy
- Promote job growth in the private sector
- Expand and diversify the economy with businesses that enhance Wyoming’s natural assets
- Make Wyoming business-ready, keeping government red tape an delay to a minimum
- Retain Wyoming’s beneficial tax structure
- Preference for Wyoming businesses
The economic downturn has had serious consequences, not just nationally, but also in Wyoming. The unemployment rate in Wyoming is hovering at 7.5%, and higher in some of our counties. For those who do not have jobs, these are very tough times. Even many who have jobs are worried about keeping them.
All of our towns and counties are hurting because of the revenue shortfalls caused by the economic downturn. And those affected are doing different things to cope – hiring freezes, suspending employee raises, furloughing employees, and changing programs to reduce costs. All of this is painful. Our counties, towns and cities are the backbone of our state. The Governor must be responsive to the needs of our counties, towns and cities. Enabling our communities to maintain essential services without additional taxes will be one of my highest priorities. I will also promote job growth in the private sector. Governor Stan Hathaway, my mentor, took office during a time of economic doldrums, and by the time he left the Wyoming economy was thriving again. Stan actively encouraged investors and industry leaders to come to Wyoming and made the expertise of state agencies available. As Governor, I will lead to get our economy thriving again.
My plan is to expand and diversify Wyoming’s economy to find those businesses that develop and enhance Wyoming’s natural assets – energy, agriculture, tourism, recreation, and workforce. The joint venture between the University of Wyoming and General Electric for the coal gasification technology center in Laramie County is a good example of a facility that enhances our energy sector. The National Center for Atmospheric Research supercomputer, to be located in Cheyenne, is another example of a good growth opportunity. The supercomputer and similar projects are a magnet to bring in supporting industries.
We should seek not only to develop our energy here but also recruit businesses that need an abundance of inexpensive electricity. Wyoming could be the data center of the country and the obvious choice for businesses that need inexpensive electricity to operate. I support an exemption for data centers from sales tax on computer equipment they use, which would help attract data centers to our State.
As Governor, I will make sure Wyoming is business-ready. This means allowing entrepreneurial spirit to flourish by keeping government red tape and paperwork to a minimum and avoiding lengthy delays. My administration will strive to have a regulatory framework that is timely and certain.
We also need to have a workforce that can meet the changing needs of industry in Wyoming. Partnerships between industry such as the McMurry training center, as well as with the Community Colleges and the University of Wyoming should be fostered so we have the workers we need. Right now we should be expanding training programs to service wind turbines so that as this industry expands in Wyoming we have skilled trades people in Wyoming who are ready to do this new job.
Wyoming is financially sound not just by good fortune but by frugality and by law. We should continue to be fiscally conservative.
Wyoming needs to keep its beneficial tax structure. Wyoming is one of the few states with no income tax. It is one of the many things that make our State attractive to people and businesses.
Low taxes set a foundation for economic development but are not by themselves a plan for economic development. We need to take a proactive approach for economic recovery through organizations like the Wyoming Business Council and the Business Incubator at the University of Wyoming.
Wyoming business should always come first. We need to recognize Wyoming’s great workforce and expertise. Too often we look outside our borders for goods and services. As Governor I will put Wyoming businesses and Wyoming workers first. Our economic door should swing in to Wyoming rather than out to other states. If you want to keep young people in Wyoming – start by hiring them.