Cheyenne Business Leader Opposes Sales Tax Proposal
Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dale Steenbergen is opposed to a proposal to remove sales tax exemptions that are currently used to recruit new businesses.
He says removing the exemptions used as incentives for businesses to locate in the state amounts to a tax increase. Steenbergen says the net effect would be to cost the state far more money in lost business opportunities than the change would bring into state coffers.
He says the exemptions have been especially effective at recruiting new business "clusters" in Wyoming to fill in gaps in the economy. One such exemption, for example, has been used to bring data centers to Laramie County. That's because the centers get a sales tax exemption on computer equipment.
But supporters of the proposed changes say removing the economic development incentive exemptions along with another bill that would remove tax exemptions from other services that are currently not taxed could bring in $200 million a year to the state at a time when Wyoming is struggling financially because of low energy prices.
Taxes on coal, natural gas and oil are a mainstay of the state's revenue stream. Coal production in Wyoming is down and oil and natural gas prices are well below normal levels.
Governor Matt Mead said recently another round of cuts to state government will be needed because of the declining revenues.
The legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee says it will take up the sales tax proposals next month.
In the meantime, Steenbergen says he plans to speak with lawmakers about why the proposals are a bad idea.