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Wed Aug 29, 2018, 05:07 AM

Senate revenue chairman Peterson ousted over school funding

Sen. Ray Peterson (R-Cowley) lost his reelection bid last week, halting a 13-year Senate career and ensuring the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee will see new leadership at a critical point in the state’s reluctant consideration of its tax structure.

Peterson, along with Rep. Mike Madden (R-Buffalo), who is retiring at the end of this term, guided the Joint Revenue Committee through nearly two years of contentious discussions about Wyoming’s unbalanced tax structure. Their departure means a lawmaker from each body will have to step into arguably the least politically desirable committee leadership roles in the Wyoming Legislature.

At a June 2017 revenue committee meeting, Peterson, who also served on the Select School Finance Recalibration Committee that examined education funding including teacher salaries, joked about his reelection prospects. “I’m Senator Peterson and I’m the one raising your taxes and cutting your wages,” he said. “Vote for me.”

The quip proved prescient.

Ultimately, it was Peterson’s positions on public education that killed his reelection prospects. Most notably, Peterson shouldered a Senate bill that at one point threatened to reduce funding for K-12 schools by $114 million.

Read more: https://www.wyofile.com/senate-revenue-chair-peterson-ousted-over-school-funding/

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