CHEYENNE (WNE) – The only tax proposal with the support of Gov. Mark Gordon moved one step closer to making it to his desk Tuesday evening.
By a 6-1 vote, members of the Wyoming Legislature's House Appropriations Committee advanced House Bill 134, which would add a 5% sales tax on all lodging services provided within the state.
A majority of those funds would go into a Wyoming Tourism Account for the state Office of Tourism to use to promote the industry in the state, while the remaining revenue would be distributed proportionately to counties and cities where it was collected.
Estimates show the tax proposal would add $7.4 million to the tourism account in its first year of implementation, and that annual figure would increase to $14.9 million in each of the next two years.
During the meeting, Department of Revenue Director Dan Noble told lawmakers his department has lost the two people involved in setting up the state's tax collection system, making it tougher for them to know exactly how much financial support they'll need to collect the added-on tax.
The main point of discussion during the meeting centered on which lodging services would be included under the bill. As currently written, the legislation would exclude lodging offered at state and county campgrounds.
Before a vote on the bill, lawmakers approved a conceptual amendment, proposed by Rep. Andy Schwartz, D-Jackson, that would expand that exemption to include other county events offered on the campgrounds.
The bill will now go back to the House for a second vote, and it will just need a simple majority vote this time around.