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Learning to “live within our means” won’t fix Wyoming’s money problems

May 17, 2017

By Nate Martin

My cousin’s son was living in his basement. The kid is 19 years old, and he had been mowing some lawns for cash. But most of his day-to-day expenses were covered by an allowance from his parents.

Last month, my cousin told him: “Son, it’s time for […]

Revenue Committee punts on tax reform, allegedly its top priority

May 15, 2017

What was meant to be the first big step in fixing Wyoming’s budget crisis started with a whimper and ended with a mining-funded happy hour, as the legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee met last week in Saratoga and accomplished essentially nothing.

The importance of the committee’s task can’t be overstated: […]

Fight the Boom and Bust (Part 3): Sales tax and otherwise

May 9, 2017

Increasing sales tax in Wyoming isn’t a very popular idea. A University of Wyoming poll found in 2016 that 59 percent of respondents opposed it—this was, however, before the real extent of the current budget crisis began to set in.

To be sure, sales tax is a regressive tax […]

Fight the Boom and Bust (Part 2): “Sin” Tax

May 9, 2017

A whopping 63 percent of Wyoming voters said they are willing to pay higher taxes, according to a UW poll, but primarily the so-called “sin taxes” of beer and alcohol (81 percent) and cigarettes (78 percent).

Still, proposals to pass these no-brainer increases in the midst of a budget […]

Fight the Boom and Bust (Part 1): Income Tax

May 9, 2017

Wyoming’s boom-and-bust economic cycle—and the state budget surpluses and crises that follow—has gone on so long it seems to some people here almost like a birthright. Or a birth defect.

It’s obvious that that state needs to diversify its economy in order to avoid the radical swings that result […]

“Actual innocence” expert helps Judiciary Committee see past state lawyer’s preposterous claims

May 3, 2017

Imagine you’re sitting in prison, convicted of a crime you did not commit. One day, three years into your 20-year sentence, your lawyer visits and tells you that new evidence has come to light that proves your innocence.

In most states, that would mean you’d be headed home soon […]