Failure of ‘big box tax’ was Wyoming Legislature’s folly

The biggest disappointment of the recent legislative session was the failure of lawmakers to pass a new tax to help fund education. Blame it all on the Senate.

Rep. Jerry Obermueller (R-Casper) sponsored a corporate income tax and the House passed it by a wide margin. The upper chamber, however, was too intimidated by big business and Wyoming Republican Party leaders to even vote on the proposal.

House Bill 220 —National Retail Fairness Act had everything going for it, including stated support from legislative leaders in both houses. It was a well-crafted vehicle for taxing large out-of-state corporations doing business in Wyoming without affecting consumer prices, costing jobs or shuttering “big box” stores or franchises.

A seven percent tax would have been implemented on the profits of corporations with at least 100 shareholders. It would have applied to retail stores like Walmart and restaurant chains like Applebee’s.