The Legislature is currently discussing a bill that would create a corporate income tax, and my email inbox has been full of Wyomingites’ thoughts on the matter.
Proposed House Bill 122, the “National Retail Fairness Act,” is limited to retail stores and intended to hit the “big box” retailers that have done so much damage to Main Street stores. But the bill proposes an income tax nonetheless, and is something to which I — and many others — are adamantly opposed.
If passed, the tax may initially apply only on big box retailers, but it could open the door for introduction of income tax bills that would apply to other types of businesses. Following that, couldn’t it soon be conceivable that the tax be applied to individuals as well?
Such taxes typically start out as targeting only “the rich.” The federal income tax started as a 1 percent tax that “only the rich will pay.” Generation by generation, the “tax the wealthy” drumbeat went on, and the tax went up. Today, everyone is subject to the federal income tax — unless, as for some, it turns into a tax refund at the expense of hard-working men and women everywhere. Before long, “the rich” translates to anyone with a job.
Government consumes every dollar available. It grows in proportion to revenue. Income taxes are a powerful revenue raiser, and equally powerful at growing the size of government. We need less — not more — government in America.
Raising taxes, income taxes or otherwise, feeds a false narrative that Cheyenne has done enough to rein in spending. That is untrue. While there were cuts during the downturn of 2008-09 — and significant cuts at that — there is still way too much waste, inefficiency and spending.
My vote is “no” to new taxes and tax hikes. If there comes a day when it appears we’ve throttled back on spending, and there is a hue and cry from the folks I represent that Wyoming needs more spending and more taxes, I may reconsider.
But we are a long way from that day.
In other important matters, as I write, the bill to construct a veterans skilled nursing facility at the Veterans Home in Buffalo is coming up for consideration. Vying to be selected are Casper and Sheridan. I’m an advocate for location in Buffalo.
The state of Wyoming operates five health care facilities — the State Hospital in Evanston, the Life Resource Center in Lander, the Pioneer Home in Thermopolis, the Retirement Center in Basin and the Veterans Home in Buffalo, formerly known as “The Soldiers and Sailors Home.” It provides assisted living care to veterans from across Wyoming. The proposal would add a skilled nursing component there.
A task force formed by the state in 2014 determined that the proper role of the government in health care facilities is to operate as a safety net, a provider of last resort. This way, the state would not compete with private enterprise.
For over a century, the role of the Veterans Home has been precisely that, to first serve those who, due to circumstance or history, are unable to find a proper place closer to home.
In 2016, the Legislature enacted a bill that clearly indicated that when funds became available, a veterans skilled nursing home was to be build on the Veterans Home campus.
Nonetheless, legislators for Casper and Sheridan will jockey for location in their communities. As for me, I represent both Buffalo and Sheridan, and the veterans at the Veterans Home have clearly indicated their preference to stay where they are. There they receive good care, and when they need a higher level of care, they would rather not relocate.
In the end, we must respect the wishes of those most affected by the decision: our veterans.
Dave Kinskey represents Wyoming Senate District 22 which consists of Johnson County and eastern Sheridan County. A businessperson and former mayor of Sheridan, Kinskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-751-6428.