House Makes Massive Changes To Blockbuster Wyoming Tax Relief Bill

A property tax bill that would lead to a massive overhaul to Wyoming’s taxation system received some significant changes on Monday that soften the legislation and reduce Wyoming’s commitment to it.

Leo Wolfson

February 27, 20243 min read

State Rep. Steve Harshman discusses his property tax relief bill, which was drastically changed Monday.
State Rep. Steve Harshman discusses his property tax relief bill, which was drastically changed Monday. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

UPDATE: Wyoming House Kills Property Tax Bill

A blockbuster proposal that would’ve eliminated residential property tax for about 97% of Wyoming homeowners while hiking the state sales tax by 2% was slashed significantly on its second reading in the House on Monday.

Rep. Steve Harshman’s House Bill 203 has been one of the most talked-about this budget session, and Monday’s changes will significantly soften it while lowering Wyoming’s overall commitment to it.

As originally drafted, HB 203 would have forgiven $1 million worth of fair market value from residential properties in Wyoming, which would include most homes.

On Monday, Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, successfully passed an amendment lowering the deferral to $200,000, substantially reducing the number of homes that would have their property taxes completely eliminated.

Zwonitzer’s amendment also reduced the increase in sales tax rate from 2% to 1%.

He argued that his amendment, which he described as the “goldilocks version,” would provide an appropriate middle ground where property tax revenues aren’t placed at too much of a risk, and homeowners will still get a break on their taxes.

“This would be significant relief on property tax, while crossing it over to the sales tax,” he said. “I think it’s a good intermediate step to consider what we can do to help everybody out with their increasing property taxes.”

The 1% sales tax increase and exemption decrease to $200,000 were bundled into the same amendment, which passed on a 34-27 vote.

Although many members of the Wyoming Freedom Caucus favor the sales tax reduction, they were less keen to support slashing the fair market value exemption by 80%.

“We are still increasing sales tax by 1 cent, which does bring in a lot of (tax) revenue still,” said Rep. Ben Hornok, R-Cheyenne.

Rep. Jeanette Ward, R-Casper, went the other way, proposing an amendment that would have locked in the $1 million exemption through 2034. Her amendment failed.

Other Changes And Attempts

There also were amendments passed Monday that delay the implementation of HB 203 until 2025 and give it a 2027 sunset date.

Rep. Bill Allemand, R-Midwest, spoke against the delay to implement, saying Wyoming taxpayers need relief immediately. Although he warned that people may lose their homes, the tax lien-to-eviction process in Wyoming takes about five years.

Harshman said he wasn’t opposed to a delayed rollout, but warned that much could change in the Legislature after the next election cycle.

“I want to keep working this rather than kicking the can down the road,” he said.

Rep. Tony Locke, R-Casper, unsuccessfully proposed an amendment adding outbuildings like detached garages and sheds to the tax exemption. Attached garages were already included in the original legislation.

In total, 11 amendments to HB 203 were proposed Monday, four from Allemand.

Although three amendments he brought to add various forms of exemptions for agricultural land failed, Allemand’s amendment stipulating that homeowners have to live in Wyoming for at least six months of the year to qualify for the exemptions passed.

Some other temporary dramatics also happened during the bill negotiations Monday, with Rep. Cody Wylie, R-Rock Springs, requesting the bill be postponed indefinitely. After a roughly five-minute discussion on whether Wylie could make this motion, he decided to rescind it.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter