CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Latest on the Joint Revenue Committee’s action Wednesday on tax measures (all times local):
A Wyoming legislative committee has rejected all the tax proposals it was considering to bolster the state’s sagging revenues.
The Joint Revenue Committee actually voted on only one of the five tax bills on the agenda Wednesday.
After a proposed bill to impose a 1 percent tax on purchases at leisure and hospitality establishments around the state failed on a 6-6 vote, the committee declined to even consider four other proposals.
Those proposals included raising the state sales tax to fund school construction and maintenance and increase property tax assessment rates.
Committee co-chairman Rep. Mike Madden of Buffalo says any support for the tax proposals dissipated in recent weeks with news that the state revenue picture was improving because of a rebounding oil industry.
A Wyoming legislative committee has rejected a proposal to impose a 1 percent tax on purchases at hotels, restaurants, bars and other leisure and hospitality establishments around the state.
The proposal before the Joint Revenue Committee died on a 6-6 vote Wednesday.
The tax would have raised more than $17 million annually. Money raised from the tax would fund the state Tourism Office, which spends millions of dollars around the world promoting Wyoming’s tourist attractions.
Advocates of the tax say it would provide a stable revenue stream for tourism promotion and reduce the burden on the cash-strapped state general fund, which funds the office now.
The proposal was among five tax measures that the committee was considering Wednesday to bolster the state’s sagging tax revenues.
The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee will provide the first clue on whether raising taxes to bolster the state’s sagging finances has any support among lawmakers.
The committee was meeting Wednesday to consider four proposals that would increase state taxes.
Among them is a proposal to increase the state sales tax from 4 percent to 4.5 percent. The additional money collected from the increase would go to public K-12 school construction and maintenance projects.
Wyoming coffers have been depleted by a downturn in the state’s mineral extraction industry, which provides much of the state’s tax base to pay for government services and schools.
The state is facing a nearly $500 million shortfall in funding its schools.
But recently rising oil prices have boosted hopes that tax increases won’t be necessary.