Proposed tax bills rejected by Wyoming lawmakers

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Cheyenne, Wyo. - A Wyoming legislative committee has rejected all the tax proposals it was considering to bolster the state's sagging revenues.

The Joint Revenue Committee actually voted on only one of the five tax bills on the agenda Wednesday.

After a proposed bill to impose a 1 percent tax on purchases at leisure and hospitality establishments around the state failed on a 6-6 vote, the committee declined to even consider four other proposals.

Ray Peterson, State Senator for District 19, says the tourism tax was the one he had the most hope for passing. If passed it would have allowed the Wyoming tourism department to become self-funded, and the money saved would go towards other needs in the state. With its failure, Peterson says it may be tough going in the future.

“The thing that we’re struggling with in Wyoming is the smallness of the state. If we can get tourists to help us out, all the more better.” Peterson said, “It just seems to me, we’re digging our own hole deeper and deeper.”

Those proposals included raising the state sales tax to fund school construction and maintenance and increase property tax assessment rates.

Committee co-chairman Rep. Mike Madden of Buffalo says any support for the tax proposals dissipated in recent weeks with news that the state revenue picture was improving because of a rebounding oil industry.