The Joint Revenue Committee has decided to put together a framework of what a corporate income tax could look like in Wyoming. The meeting grew heated as two public commenters accused the committee trying to adopt a tax increase.
Several legislators asserted it would not be an increase, but simply recouping taxes that out-of-state companies pay in their home states.
Senate Committee Chairman Ray Peterson gave an example of what happens without a corporate income tax in Wyoming.
“They come down to Wyoming from Montana, do their job, sell their product, compete against our Wyoming businesses. And they go back to Montana, and pay their payroll tax, pay their corporate tax with the profits they receive in Wyoming. And all we’re saying as a committee is that tax should be staying in Wyoming,” Peterson said.
Wyoming and South Dakota are the only two states with no corporate income tax. One commenter argued that’s why businesses are attracted to the state. But Peterson said he doesn’t think so.
“My question back to the public is, how has that worked for Wyoming so far?” asked Peterson. “How long have we not had a corporate or personal income tax and where’s the boom? Where’s all these businesses coming to Wyoming?”
He added this would not target mineral companies, but large C corporations like big box stores or grocery chains. At the end of the tense meeting, Peterson gave an impassioned speech about the future of Wyoming and the importance of broadening the tax base. No one on the committee voiced opposition to the income tax.
The House Chairman Mike Madden requested the director of the Department of Revenue estimate how much Wyoming could gain if corporate income taxes were in place.