Wyoming Liberty Group
Recent employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Wyoming is not out of the recession yet – far from it. Total non-farm employment is going nowhere:
· In the fourth quarter of 2011 a total of 289,600 Wyomingites had a job in either the private sector or with government;
· In the fourth quarter of 2012 that number was 289,500;
· In the first quarter of 2013 it climbed marginally to 290,000.
There has been a lot of public debate about the internet sales tax. Proponents argue that it will level the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores; critics say the tax will increase the burden on consumers and depress private-sector activity.
When the U.S. Department of Interior declared that it would keep 5.1 percent of the severance taxes it owed Wyoming (and two dozen other states) the governor first seemed to be appropriately upset. His administration was unmistakably worried that this could be the beginning of something much bigger – a billion dollars, to be exact. If the federal government could withhold $53 million this year, then why would they not withhold $100 million next year, or, half a billion, or the entire billion dollars it owes Wyoming?
by Bruce Edward Walker
Two admonitions hold true throughout history. The first is “Beware Greeks bearing gifts.” The other is any piece of legislation containing the word “fairness” in its title.
Such is the case with the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which is co-sponsored by Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY). Under the guise of “fairness” this Trojan horse contains a multitude of harms to businesses, consumers and the fundamental right to avoid taxation without representation.
Last week I explained that the U.S. Department of Interior is withholding 5.1 percent of the severance taxes that they owe Wyoming for 2013. Another two dozen states will also lose money, though with $53 million Wyoming is by far the biggest loser.
While $53 million is a drop in the bucket compared to total state spending, the legislature has proven that even small amounts like this can cause major problems when it is time for appropriations. The battle over the extra dime on the fuel tax is one example; the governor’s budget cut proposals another.
Senator Enzi (R-Wyo) was in Cheyenne on February 19, 2013 during his statewide listening tour to collect “common sense for Washington from Wyoming.” One piece of common sense he ignored was the call to reject the proposed Internet retail sales tax.
Sen. Enzi has long pushed for legislation to collect the tax on Internet sales. With no luck getting his bills passed, he recently changed his modus operandi and attached the tax grab as an amendment to the latest Senate budget bill.