The Wyoming State Legislature spent its first special session this year deciding how to spend the $1.25 billion the federal government doled out to Wyoming as part of the CARES Act.

That was easy.

Now comes the real work for the Wyoming legislature as lawmakers need to arrive at a solution dealing with the state’s looming revenue deficit ... a massive revenue deficit.

Between the enormous hit the oil and gas industry has taken and the loss of tourism revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is facing a bleak financial picture.

Since the federal government funds by law cannot be used to supplement lost revenue or balance the state budget, lawmakers must come up with ways to increase state revenues, slash expenditures or a combination of both.

It is our guess that cities, towns and counties are going to be the hardest hit.

K-12 education expenditures appear to be a sacred cow that nobody dares touch. That means junior colleges throughout the state will probably take another funding hit.

Slashing budgets alone probably can’t fix the situation. So where is the additional revenue going to come from?

Income from severance taxes on minerals and gas and oil is looking bleak. Dipping into the state’s rainy day fund is a possibility. Instituting a state income tax has been whispered about. A massive increase in the sales tax percentage would be necessary to make up for other revenues.

Senate president Drew Perkins of Casper is anticipating another special session in June to deal with the revenue deficit.

Answers need to be found.

 

(9) comments

Trex

Folks please keep an eye on this, in times like these it is easy for politicians to slip in more taxes. We need to be very vigilant and vote out anyone talking about an income tax.

Gunrunner Auctions

As Wyoming rebuilds, the LAST thing you want to put on our citizens, businesses, corporations is MORE TAX. I can tell you as a businessman that if you tax me more I will not expand my business, I will not hire more persons, I will not be as likely to introduce new products.

In the last legislative session some very short-sighted legislators (think Newsome and Coe here) put of all things a Lodging Tax on the backs of not only hotels who are trying to recover, but school parents who travel with their children across the state, Wyoming business people and those who must travel long distances and stay over night for medical procedures. Talk about an anchor on the hotel business! In Jackson the Lodging Tax will go to a whopping 17%! UNREAL. If you're paying $450 for a room at the Wort, do the math!

The true Republican thought on building revenue is this: No new taxes, rather the existing tax structure is there in many, many levels and what needs to be done is get our economy back up as fast as possible and all will take care of itself as revenues climbs.

Predictions are that crude oil will be at $55 by end of 2020, so soon we will have oil/gas production in this state back at near full throttle - those revenues are 80% of our revenue total. To put more taxes on recovering citizens, business and corporations is like throwing wet dirt on flames you're trying to fan.

Whatsup

Sorry to tell everybody they already passed the tax they just haven't told anybody

James Leghorn

Is it hard to say coal out loud?

Devildog307

One simple solution- cut services. Best way to save money is to live within your means. The socialist way is to raise or Institute taxes. Wyoming is not socialist last time I checked. If we don’t have the revenue then cut state jobs, state services. If my pay gets cut at work I have to live within my means. The government should also.

DeweyV

Tax the rich . The wealthy oligarchs who buy up prime Wyoming property, claim residency , then use the State's ridiculously generous tax shelter and estate laws to live the modern nobelman's lavish life on the cheap. There's good reason for calling Wyoming the Cayman Islands in the Sagebrush Sea. But you have to ask ---all that wealth that is sheltered here , how much makes it down to us commoners and into the state coffers? Not much ...

That all needs to change. Wyoming is long past the day it should've reformed its entire tax structure from those deep sagebrush roots up. The budget cuts and service drawdowns have been made. What's left is tax reform itself. It's time the people of Wyoming began paying in full for the public services they desire. Those potholes don't fix themselves...

Booneyrat

Well said.

Whatsup

this doesn't have to be a tourist town people just choose that direction to go because the money is there they don't care about the local people they just care about the curse coming in and spending their money once worried about our locals are local people are citizens are children are dogs or cats not

Whatsup

For once he makes sense

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