Gray Opposed To Income Tax Regardless Of Shortfall
Natrona County Republican Rep. Chuck Gray said Saturday that he is "very concerned" that the state's current dire budget situation might be used as an argument in favor of a state income tax at some point.
Gray, on the Weekend in Wyoming program on KGAB on Saturday, was asked whether he thought the current budget outlook might be used as an argument for some kind of state income tax. He responded by saying ''I am very concerned about that,'' adding that he was strongly opposed to any such tax.
A few minutes later he noted that a proposed corporate income tax has already won approval in the Wyoming House in 2019, although that bill did not end up becoming law.
The National Retail Fairness Act would have imposed an income tax on out-of-state companies with over 100 stockholders. That bill passed the Wyoming House but ran into widespread opposition and ended up dying in the Senate.
A broader corporate income tax bill didn't get as far in the 2020 budget session and was not introduced into the Wyoming House. Personal income tax bills have also been introduced into the Wyoming Legislature each of the last two years, but have gotten relatively little traction.
Rep. Gray on Saturday said he and other fiscal conservatives had advocated putting more money into the state ''rainy day fund" in recent years, and that if their advice had been followed, that fund might have as much as $3.5 billion, rather than the roughly $1.5 billion it currently has.
Wyoming currently has a budget shortfall projected at well over $1 billion for the next two years. Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has said the state ''can't cut it's way" out of the shortfall. The state is facing low energy prices as well as an economy that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and business restrictions and closures related to the pandemic.
Wyoming is currently one of only 7 states with no state income tax.