CHEYENNE – A bill that would have created a state income tax to fund education in Wyoming died in the Legislature’s House Revenue Committee Friday, just a day after introduction.

House Bill 233, sponsored by Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, and Sen. Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie, would have imposed a 4 percent tax on individuals and corporations earning more than $200,000 a year.

But the bill was expected to affect only those making more than $350,000 a year — about 2,000 of the state’s taxpayers — once other tax credits were applied.

It would have raised an additional $208 million in revenue for the Wyoming Department of Education’s School Foundation Program annually.

The legislation was an effort by Democratic lawmakers to continue serious talks about income tax in the state, and illustrate how it could solve a number of funding challenges.

But after only about 30 minutes of discussion, the revenue committee failed to make a motion on the bill, effectively killing it.

Many voiced their opposition — something Wyoming’s Republican base has been doing for years, saying an income tax would stifle business development and put unnecessary burden on residents.

Brett Moline, director of public and governmental affairs for the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, was concerned the proposal would hit more than Wyoming’s wealthiest.

“Large wholesaler rents his facility, gets a deduction for the rent and does not pay the property tax. He wouldn’t get the credit and would be paying the income taxes,” he said.

 

By Chrissy Suttles

Wyoming Tribune Eagle Via Wyoming News Exchange