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Published on : Monday, November 13, 2017
A bill had been drafted by the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee that would impose a 1 percent tax on the purchases made at hotels, restaurants, bars and other leisure hospitality establishment around the state.
An annual tax of $17 million will be raised annually and the money would be used in funding the state Tourism office that promotes Wyoming’s tourist attractions around the world.
A voting will be held next month to submit the proposal to the full Legislature next February.
The current budget of the office being $12.5 million a year the advocates of the tax say that it would offer a stable revenue stream for tourism promotion that would further replace the need for the Legislature to fund the agency from the state coffers.
Chris Brown the executive director of Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association and the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition said that tourism being a competitive business, Wyoming should stand up on a more competitive footing with a long-range, dedicated funding source.
Brown favoured the tax but Brett Moline of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation opposed the tax that it would raise the costs for business travelers to the state. He was in favour of using the money to promote Wyoming agriculture products.
After the downturn of the state’s mining industry, the state tax revenues has been choked.
Tourism being the second –largest industry in the state the Legislature was earlier prompted to assign the Revenue Committee the task of looking for alternative source of raising revenue.
Diane Shober, the executive director of the state Tourism Office said that the tax will increase the annual budget to around $17 million incoherence with the bordering state’s spending on the tourism efforts. She further mentioned that every time a traveling consumer plans a vacation to Idaho, Utah, Colorado it’s a loss of customer to them .