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Fiscal Impacts from Government Vacancies

The following information has been provided by Representative Mark Jennings and is a response from the Legislative Services Office regarding the fiscal impacts on freezes to existing governmental vacancies.

“…in the 2017 General Session the Governor and the Legislature reduced 167 positions (157 full-time and 10 part-time) resulting in savings of approximately $18 million general funds for the 2017-2018 biennium.  This number will not necessarily be doubled (biennialized) for the 2019-2020 biennium since funding for many of the positions exceeded one year, but realized general fund savings will certainly be greater than $18 million.  I believe three (3) of the positions to be eliminated are currently filled and will expire on 12/31/2017.  For the same time period, the University of Wyoming reports reduction of 202 positions, all or in-part generally funded, and the community colleges report reduction of 98 positions.  Not all of the positions in higher education were vacant.  Since the university and the community colleges state aid budgets, from which these reported positions are funded, are appropriated by block grant, we do not know the dollar amount of general fund savings generated by these reductions.  Taking all of these numbers together, the number is almost 500 position reductions, as you indicated: 167 executive branch + 202 UW + 98 CCs = 467.

The Legislature also added Section 320 to 2017 HB0001 which will result in two (2) forms of unprofiled savings in the 2017-2018 biennium: (i) savings generated from the hard position freeze affecting authorized positions funded with General Funds; and (ii) savings generated from the additional 90 positions (or comparable savings from program reductions) to be determined by the Governor. For example, it is not possible to determine (a) when the additional eliminated positions/program will occur or (b) what number of vacancies will be frozen later this spring. For FY2019-2020, the biennialized savings is estimated to be $13.5 million for the 90 positions [at $75,000 per position per year] (or equivalent programs), using the average annual salary and benefits of state employees. Estimating the 2019-2020 biennialized savings generated from the vacancy freeze, if left in place for the 2019-2020 biennium, is more challenging due to the unknown number of positions affected. LSO’s best estimate, based upon vacancies in December not including the Department of Corrections, making an exclusion for the positions reduced by JAC, and adjusting for potential new hires this spring is expected to be on the order of $10 million for the next biennium. However, if significant number of hires occurs prior to the April deadline in Section 320, this number could be smaller.”