The Debate Rages On Whether Wyoming Should Increase Severance Tax

Wyoming needs to take a look at its bank account and figure out how much will be needed in the future. That’s the advice from Equality State Policy Center researcher Sarah Gorin amid the debate over whether Wyoming should raise severance taxes or not.

While Alaska has close to 29 billion dollars in mineral severance taxes in its permanent fund – Wyoming has far less at four billion. The state relies on the taxes for 20 percent of the state general fund, and relies on another 12 percent in interest from the savings account.

Gorin says it’s unlikely the interest stream will be able to sustain the state if the production declines and tax revenues disappear.

Gorin says the national push to transition to less fossil fuel use needs to be considered in the debate.

The Wyoming Mining Association has warned that any increase in severance taxes will mean jobs will go to other states as they move production out of Wyoming to states with lower taxes. A University of Wyoming study refutes that claim – finding that a modest increase in severance taxes would not significantly affect jobs or production.

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