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Why Wyoming spends too much money, in one picture!

The Wyoming House of Representatives is a place where spending cuts go to die.

I can’t be blunter than that.

If you examine the voting for 2021’s budget bill, HB-0001, two things become apparent:

  1. Many amendments were proposed to cut or offset new or adjusted spending.
  2. There are a substantial number of liberal Republicans who work against spending cuts.

Someone suggested that Evidence-Based Wyoming attempt to score the budget bill this year to see if there is any discernable voting pattern to see which legislators drive the continued high spending by the Wyoming state government. Evidenced-Based Wyoming was modified with a few day’s work to allow the selection and scoring of individual bills.  

I was expecting a chaotic pattern with no clear grouping of legislators. I felt there wouldn’t be enough data to produce a good picture of the intent of individual legislators.  

I was wrong. The results are astonishing.

Note there are two distinct groupings of legislators.  Those in the bottom left tend conservative while those in the upper right tend to be more liberal.

After reading the HB-0001 and its accompanying digest from the Wyoming LSO, it was clear that a dedicated minority of the Wyoming House was working on cutting spending. Liberal Republicans thwarted the cost-cutting minority in conjunction with Democrat allies.

Using the same techniques to score legislators as used for the broader traditional Evidence-Based Wyoming analysis, HB-0001 was scored. No fewer than thirty-two Republican legislators voted closer to the Democrat majority than the Republican majority for those same votes.

HB-0001 Top 15 legislators to vote with the Democrat Majority

Sadly current Speaker of the House Eric Barlow and the previous two-term Speaker of the House Steve Harshman are in the top fifteen legislators to vote closest to the Democrat majority.

The bad news is that 2022 will likely be dominated by the same left-of-center ideology that has been driving Wyoming spending out of control for the last eight or more years.

The good news is there is a growing minority of conservative legislators fighting to reduce spending and prevent new tax increases.  

With luck, many people will come to see the vast liberal bias in our legislature and understand the threat this makes to every Wyoming citizen’s pocketbook. More importantly, this might spur thoughtful conservatives to run against the top fifteen Republicans who are more likely to side with the Democrats than their party.