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Senate Defeats Lodging Tax

Bob Beck
Wyoming Public Radio

The last major revenue raising measure for the state has failed. The Senate defeated a 5 percent lodging tax increase, with 3 percent of revenues going towards statewide tourist promotion and the rest going to counties.

The bill has been worked on for over two years and Cody Senator Hank Coe said it had strong support across the state. But Lander Senator Cale Case, who owns a motel, said it's a large tax increase that will hurt some of the smaller operators in the state.

"I disagree with those who say this is supported by the industry. I think the big part of the industry supports it, I definitely think the smaller parts of the industry don't support it and I know you've been hearing from them," said Case.

He added that most people who would have had to pay the tax would be Wyoming residents who travel for business.

Rock Springs Democrat Liisa Anselmi-Dalton was another opponent. She said the state needs some stable revenue, but she added that a broader tax is needed.

"Why can't we just add on 1 percent to the general sales tax? These are not difficult lifts. Why can't we add a cigarette tax to decrease smoking among youth? So it's time for the House to wake up and stop picking winners and losers," said Anselmi-Dalton.

Supporters say the bill could have raised around $21 million.

Bob Beck has been News Director of Wyoming Public Radio since 1988. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
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