SHERIDAN — A bill the Joint Revenue Committee voted to introduce to the Wyoming Legislature when it convenes in January could provide direct advantages to Sheridan County’s tourism programs, in accordance with Sheridan Tourism and Travel Executive Director Shawn Parker. The bill is built to provide more, and much more reliable, funding for the state’s tourism promotion efforts, which are subsidized by the state&rsquo currently;s general fund. From year to year how big is the overall fund varies, depending on just how much revenue the constant state pulls in, which means the amount of money appropriated from that fund varies aswell.
Parker, who’s an associate of the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition also, said he’s got heard several previous proposals for a statewide lodging tax, however the latest proposal may be the most attractive.
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“We’ve know the legislators have wished to obtain the Wyoming Office of Tourism off the overall fund going back couple of years,” Parker said. “…This solution has type of been the industry’s best effort at answering the duty established by legislators and doing a thing that actually benefits the complete lodging and travel industry all together.” The legislation would set up a 3 percent statewide lodging tax, which may be used to invest in the Wyoming Office of Tourism’s marketing efforts and would raise around $19 million.
If the tax is approved, it will be added along with existing local lodging taxes, but Parker said he will not believe cost increase would make local or state lodging prices any less competitive.
He remarked that neighboring states like Montana and South Dakota would still have an increased lodging tax than Wyoming. Furthermore, Wyoming’s lodging rates are low in comparison to nearby competitors relatively, and the increase will be slight because of this relatively.
However, Parker said the that increase could have significant, and direct advantages to Sheridan’s tourism programs.
“If we didn’t have the Wyoming Office of Tourism at its current funding level, we wouldn’t manage to execute a complete large amount of what we do at our local level,” Parker said. “Because we co-op and partner with the Wyoming Office of Tourism and hawaii so frequently and at this type of advanced.”
Still, Parker said he recognized the bigger tax rate could worry some Sheridan County residents. However, if the bill does pass, local residents will never be affected immediately.
The bill stipulates that the statewide tax wouldn’t normally be imposed on communities, like Sheridan County, which have already passed local lodging taxes until those local taxes expire in order to avoid burdening those regions having an additional lodging tax.
Sheridan County voters approved a 4 percent countywide lodging tax during November’s elections, july 1 that is because of take effect. That tax shall have to be approved in four years, and county voters shall determine whether they would like to renew the tax with the state’ s added 2 percent tax at that right time.