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 […]

BUDGET RECAP (Part 4): Whispers of an Income Tax

Part 1: Healthy Babies Cost Too Much

Part 2: Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

Part 3: Lawmakers Do Pass Taxes (as long as they’re not taxes)

April 11, 2017

In a boom-and-bust economy like Wyoming’s, each cycle provides us the opportunity to reflect on booms and busts of the past in order to […]

BUDGET RECAP (Part 3): Lawmakers do pass taxes (as long as they’re not taxes)

Part 1: Healthy Babies Cost Too Much

Part 2: Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

April 10, 2017

It’s not that Wyoming lawmakers don’t understand that the state needs new revenues—despite evidence to the contrary, they’re not exactly dense.

The problem is that they lack the political will to do what’s necessary to ensure […]

BUDGET RECAP (Part 2): Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

April 9, 2017

Click here to read Part 1: Healthy Babies Cost Too Much

The Wyoming Legislature’s conservative majority might as well stand in unison and say, “Read Our Lips: No New Taxes.”

The most no-brainer tax increases died this session, even as the state is starved for revenue. In one case, a […]

BUDGET RECAP (Part 1): Healthy Babies Cost Too Much

April 8, 2017

The Legislature lumbered through its budget proceedings this session like a sword-wielding drunkard, clumsily slashing whatever was in reach, cowering each time special-interest lobbyists or their anti-tax overlords shrieked “Small government!”

In the process, lawmakers shed crocodile tears as they made unnecessary, short-sighted cuts in vital services to the […]