Wyoming Liberty Group
In civics 101, we learn how government works. Voters elect legislators, legislators pass bills, and bills become law. This side of government is transparent and accountable. But there is another side of government that is far less accountable.
Wyoming faces a multi-million dollar deficit in the 2017-18 biennium and the specter of plummeting revenue looms large on the horizon. Why then, is the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) about to rubber stamp funding to help lift a new $18 million terminal off the ground at an airport that just last year lost 50 percent of its customer seating capacity and has no hope of takeoff anytime soon? Government does a bad job of picking winners and with all the problems with the airline industry, constructing a new airport terminal in Cheyenne will undoubtedly leave us with a white elephant we can ill afford.
A favorite corporate welfare scheme in Wyoming uses tax dollars to attract private companies to the state. One headline-grabbing scheme involves tax breaks and grants for data center attraction. When spinning the benefits of these subsidies, politicians make effusive claims to taxpayers, raving on about diversifying the economy, creating jobs, boosting the construction industry, increasing economic activity during slumps, generating tax dollars in the state, and/or increase productivity. For some reason, the flag, apple pie and for the children are left off this list.
• Majority agree:
• Wyoming would be more prosperous if people made own spending decisions;
• Families unlikely to benefit from corporate welfare schemes;
• Private sector better at determining potential of new technology than government;
• Are unwilling to pay higher electricity costs to attract data centers.
• People of Wyoming say put excess tax revenue into their hands instead of government.
CHEYENNE: Wyoming Liberty Group released the results of a survey today that asked 500 likely voters in Wyoming their opinion on the state government’s use of tax dollars to benefit private companies.
The 2015 legislative session created a number of measures that put taxpayers into the risky business of supporting some private companies. It also, in contrast, set up the Minerals Tax Task Force that could turn this corporate welfare trend around. The job of the task force is to study and make recommendations for a fair, viable and simplified system of valuation and taxation for minerals. A lower, simpler tax system that treats each taxpayer equitably is preferable to government picking winners for special handouts while making losers out of taxpayers.