The Wyoming House of Representatives passed a Statewide Lodging Tax, delivering on one of the Majority’s promises to modernize the tax structure without increasing taxes on Wyoming families. Introduced by the Joint Revenue Interim Committee, HB0066 removes funding of the Wyoming Office of Tourism from the General Fund and creates a reliable, steady source of revenue, 85% of which is paid for by visitors to the state.
“With 85% of lodging tax collections paid for by out of state visitors and the support of industry, we can dedicate that money to funding the Wyoming Office of Tourism,” said Speaker Steve Harshman. “By creating a self-sustaining funding model for tourism, we can ensure a reliable source of revenue for the industry not paid for by hard-working Wyoming families.”
“This is just another move to create consistent revenue streams for many of our state agencies,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Albert Sommers. “Similar to what has been done with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Department of Transportation, this bill will give the Office of Tourism more stability in its funding.”
“Having spent the majority of my career in the hotels and hospitality industry, I know the importance of a vibrant Office of Tourism,” stated Representative Pat Sweeney. “Wyoming residents are paying much higher lodging tax rates every time they travel outside Wyoming. We might as well be recouping these costs from the millions of tourists visiting Wyoming every year. This bill will level out the uncertainty we have seen in past years surrounding tourism budgets and support Wyoming’s second largest industry.”
House Bill 66 would institute a 5% statewide lodging tax with 3% being diverted to a Wyoming Tourism Account and the remaining 2% going back to local communities as a replacement for a portion of the local option lodging taxes in each county or municipality. Based on the fiscal note provided by the Legislative Service Office, visitors to the state alone would generate nearly $16.6 Million for the Office of Tourism, while reducing the maximum rate local governments can levy from 4% to 2%.