A Peek Into The 2019 Wyoming Legislature in Session

January 17, 2019

 

 

 

By: The Big Horn Basin TEA party

Syndicated by: Montana News

Also, there is a gun bill, SF0075, which is experiencing some resistance from members of the Judiciary Committee. Yes by two senators with (R's) after their names.

HOUSE BILL NO. HB0064 Indexing fuel taxes.
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0064

 
Well the revenue committee has found another way to raise some more revenue (TAXES) for Wyoming.  Instead of making a big fuss of introducing legislation every time they want to raise fuel taxes they’re going to just pass on piece of legislation and allow the Consumer Price Index (CPI) dictate how much that tax on fuel increases. If passed it’ll all be done quietly each year on March 1st. But not to worry, if the CPI drops the fuel tax won’t go down. 
 
Just in case you travel outside of Wyoming, for instance Montana, you’ll notice a significant difference in fuel prices. For instance, as of Jan 16, 2019 in Billings the price for regular fuel is $1.97 and diesel is $2.49. In Cody regular is $2.47 and 2.97 for diesel. Now the Revenue Committee wants to ensure our costs will silently increase.
 
As of January 8, 2019 it was introduced to the House. No action yet.  Let your representatives know your opinion.
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HOUSE BILL NO. HB0066 Lodging tax.
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0066

 
An act relating to sales tax; imposing a statewide tax on sales of lodging services; providing for distribution of the tax collected; revising the local optional lodging tax; repealing conflicting provisions; creating the Wyoming tourism account; providing for implementation of the new tax; and providing for an effective date.  
 
The legislature wants to increase the lodging tax 5%.  So it’s only 5% and it will impact tourists.  With legislative bills to increase fuel taxes, lodging taxes and reinstitute sales tax on food when does it end?
 
Wyoming depends upon tourism when we gouge the tourists, and the locals, with numerous increases in taxes we cause people to pull back the reins and watch what they spend each day.  Look in the parking lots of Walmart and other grocery stores as tourists make sandwiches for their families because they look at cutting expenses to have an enjoyable vacation. Our legislators should be looking at cutting expenses before raising taxes.  On that note, our legislators are moving very quickly to raise, not cut, their own per diem rates: HB 38 https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0038

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HOUSE BILL NO. HB0067 Sales tax revisions
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0067

 
An act relating to sales and use tax; providing that the sales tax shall apply to sales of specified services; reducing the sales and use tax rates; repealing the sales and use tax exemption on food for domestic home consumption; repealing additional sales and use tax exemptions; making conforming changes; and providing for an effective date.
 
So here’s the gist legislators want to lower the sales tax to 3.5%, but start taxing food we buy for our homes. Our government looking out for us. Me thinks not! When we look at the revenue numbers in the fiscal impact tab of the bill we see the following:                                          

                                

                                                                
NON-ADMINISTRATIVE IMPACT  FY2020    FY2021 FY2022

Anticipated Revenue increase/(decrease)   

GENERAL FUND($4,800,000)($4,900,000)($5,000,000)

LOCAL SOURCES FUND$31,600,000 $32,100,000 $32,700,000 

 
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HOUSE BILL NO. HB0077 Cigarette tax administration.
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0077

 
An act relating to cigarette tax administration; maintaining the current cigarette tax rate; amending the description of the rate; conforming the distribution of the tax; and providing for an effective date.
 
Yup, they want to increase taxes on cigarettes, again. Only three cents, but another sin tax to fund government operations. Enough said.

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HOUSE BILL NO. HB0127 Tax refund to elderly and disabled.
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0127
 

An act relating to taxation and revenue; amending eligibility criteria for the tax refund to the elderly and disabled program; providing an appropriation; and providing for an effective date.
 
So they want to lower the threshold of what an elderly or disabled person makes to qualify for a tax a qualified single person whose actual income is less than seventeen thousand five hundred dollars ($17,500.00) thirteen thousand five hundred dollars ($13,500.00) shall receive eight hundred dollars ($800.00) reduced by the percentage that his actual income exceeds ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) eight thousand dollars ($8,000.00) per year and qualified married persons, at least one (1) of whom is at least sixty‑five (65) years of age or totally disabled, whose actual income is less than twenty‑eight thousand five hundred dollars ($28,500.00) twenty‑two thousand dollars ($22,000.00) shall receive nine hundred dollars ($900.00) reduced by the percentage that their actual income exceeds sixteen thousand dollars ($16,000.00) twelve thousand five hundred dollars ($12,500.00) per year. Until remarriage a person sixty (60) years or older once qualified through marriage remains eligible individually for single person benefits, subject to income limitations, after the death of his spouse.
 
However, the legislature is increasing their per diem rates by $40 a day? Hmmm?


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SENATE FILE NO. SF0006 Personal property tax reporting
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0006
 

An act relating to property taxes; revising the penalty for failing to report property to the county assessor; requiring the department of audit to collect property information during audits as specified; providing fees for nonreported and omitted taxable property; and providing for an effective date.

This bill changes state law which made it a misdemeanor punishable up to $500 and/or 90 days in jail for failure to report personal property to the assessor for taxation.  This mostly applies to businesses, farms, ranches, etc... However, you would get your day in court and could appeal a conviction. That's called due process. 

If this bill passes the assessor may assess a fee of $10 a day up to $500. Fees are added to the taxpayers bill with the money going to the general fund of the County.  No appeal, no due process!  Another Revenue Committee method of charging fees instead of a tax or as it was previously a decision of the Court.


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SENATE FILE SF0075 Wyoming Repeal Gun Free Zones Act
https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/SF0075

 
AN ACT relating to concealed weapons; repealing gun free zones; providing for the carrying of concealed weapons as specified; clarifying that only the state legislature may regulate firearms, weapons and ammunition as specified; amending a definition; and providing for an effective date.
 
Liberty in Wyoming is once again under attack. Senate File 75 the Wyoming Repeal Gun Free Zones Act was introduced to the 2019 Legislature and assigned to the Judiciary Committee.  Unfortunately, word from Cheyenne is the bill is in peril.  From what I understand two Republicans R.J. Kost Senate District 19 and Michael Von Flatern Senate District 24 on the Judiciary Committee and are opposed to passing this bill.  Why? That’s a good question! Please contact these senators and ask them to vote yes in committee to forward this bill.
 
Thirty-six legislators have sponsored this bill. That’s almost half the Senate and a third of the House! Yet, the bill is being held up!
 
Newly elected Senator R.J. Kost, who serves Park and Big Horn Counties, replaced former Senator Peterson and according to his legislative website is a retired educator. He was highly supported by the Wyoming Educators Association (WEA). Please contact him and ask him to uphold, defend, and support the Constitution. His contact info is: RJ.Kost@wyoleg.gov  Phone: Home (307)754-7174 Cell: None provided
 
Senator Michael Von Flatern, serving since 2005, serves Campbell County according to his legislative website is a pilot. Please contact him and ask him to uphold, defend, and support the Constitution. His contact info is: Michael.VonFlatern@wyoleg.gov  Phone: Cell (307)680-4744.

An attempt by the Chairman of the Judiciary to move the Bill to the Agricultural Committee failed.  Please see those with an (R) after their name who voted No to move. Shame on those senators from the Big Horn Basin, Senators Case, Coe and Kost.. Two of those three votes could have moved the bill to a committee who would have passed it without interference. Kudos to all those senators who support this important piece of legislation. Remember Senator Coe was behind the attempted gutting of "Stand Your Ground" legislation last year.

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