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State lawmakers are looking to provide property tax relief, but potential solutions are complicated

The Wyoming State Capitol building.
Flickr Creative Commons
The Wyoming State Capitol building.

The Wyoming legislature will consider at least three bills early next year that would reform the state’s property taxes. Officials are trying to give residents meaningful relief to skyrocketing bills, but many solutions could have complex consequences.

At a recent Joint Revenue Committee hearing, Rep. Bill Allemand (R-Midwest) didn’t mince words. He’s tired of rising property taxes, which went up an average of 10 percent between 2021 and 2022. In some counties with hot real estate markets, bills went up at much higher rates.

“We are taxing people on unrealized capital gains, and we're doing it over and over and over. We're doing it every year,” Allemand said. “Let's get our revenue down and our spending down, and let's put the people of Wyoming ahead of the Wyoming government.”

Lawmakers are considering several solutions, including expanding relief programs for older and lower-income residents and capping how much assessed values can go up every year. One statewide ballot initiative would significantly slash bills for full-time and longer term residents, according to the publication WyoFile.

However, property taxes fund local governments and schools, so several officials worry about how to make up revenue losses. More significant changes to the state’s tax structure would also require constitutional amendments approved by Wyoming voters.

Will Walkey is a contributing journalist and former reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. Through 2023, Will was WPR's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. He first arrived in Wyoming in 2020, where he covered Teton County for KHOL 89.1 FM in Jackson. His work has aired on NPR and numerous member stations throughout the Rockies, and his story on elk feedgrounds in Western Wyoming won a regional Murrow award in 2021.

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