A legislative committee is once again studying a proposal to impose an income tax on so-called “big block” stores.
The Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee will take testimony on the proposal during its meeting in Pinedale this week. Members will decide whether to forward the bill to the Legislature during their meeting in November.
Under consideration is a measure similar to one killed in the Legislature this year. It would impose a 7 percent corporate income tax on companies with more than 100 shareholders.
In debates on the bill during the Legislature’s general session earlier this year, backers said national companies that do business in Wyoming have already built the cost of corporate income taxes assessed in other states into the price of goods sold in Wyoming. Supporters said the new tax would simply amount to Wyoming collecting its share of those taxes on purchases made in the state.
The measure is expected to bring another $45 million into the state and Tammy Johnson of the Wyoming Education Association said the money would go a long way toward funding education.
“(It is) the equivalent of funding 600 teaching positions for one year,” she said. “It’s the equivalent of funding a (Class) 3A school district for one year. It’s a lot of money. And it’s needed by the people of Wyoming to fund education, which is a fundamental right in Wyoming.”
Chris Brown of the Wyoming Retailers Association said his group just wants the Legislature to make sure any tax measure adopted is fair to all.
“Not one that picks winners and losers and treats businesses competing for the same customers different on a tax basis,” he said.
Johnson said since the companies that would be affected by the tax are already building the cost of taxes into their products, it just makes sense for Wyoming to collect its share of the revenue.
But Brown disagreed.
“To suggest that this is a tax that’s already being paid and Wyoming is just going to get its share back is incorrect,” he said. “Make no mistake, this is a brand new tax that, if this bill is passed, will be applied to some businesses in Wyoming and very well could translate down to the consumer.”