On August 8 & 9, the Joint Revenue Committee met in Thermopolis to discuss the revenue shortfall in Wyoming's budget. A deadline of November 10 looms ahead of next year's legislative session, to report on possible revenue generating options to offset the hundreds of millions in deficit.
Campbell County Commissioner Rusty Bell, who also sits on the Chamber's Business Advocacy Committee, provided comment to the Joint Revenue Committee about the optional statewide sales tax.
A proposed extra 1% sales and use tax would reportedly generate $140 million annually. Commissioner Bell stated to the committee that any sales tax imposed at the state level would make it harder for optional 1% sales and use taxes on the local level to be passed.
Other ideas being discussed by the committee are broadening the state sales tax to include items not currently taxed, like groceries. A grocery tax at the full sales tax rate currently exists only in South Dakota, Mississippi, and Alabama. According to projections, taxing groceries, newspaper sales, farm implement sales, religious and charitable sales, manufacturing machinery sales, repairs to railroad rolling stock, and data centers would generate $234 million in additional revenue.
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Brenda Kirk is a writer with over two decades of journalism experience.