Ballot Proposition 1: Should the Board of County Commissioners of Albany County, Wyoming, continue to impose a one percent (1%) sales and use tax upon retail sales within Albany County for general revenue?
FOR the 1% county sales and use tax
- This is not a new tax, but State law requires that it be reapproved every four years.
- It has been in effect since 1986 in Albany County. Voting “Yes” will not change current 6% sales & use taxes. The state gives 99% of fifth cent revenue back to the county, whereas we only get about 34% back from the 4% state-mandated sales and use tax.
- During the last four years, this 1% optional tax has raised $19.5 million for Albany County, Laramie and Rock River. It currently provides a significant portion of county and municipal budgets (15 - 20% of Laramie’s annual budget).
- This tax has provided matching funds for state and federal grants that have benefited most residents. Street and greenbelt improvements and mosquito control are among these. Over $3 million of the funds have gone to government groups including the Laramie Regional Airport, Laramie Civic Center, Albany County Fair, Albany County Public Library, Albany County Transportation Authority, Laramie River Conservation District.
- The tax is progressive, and shows potential funders and new businesses that we are helping ourselves. Relief is available for low income seniors and people with disabilities (Wyoming Tax Refund for Elderly and Disabled Program). Most groceries and drugs are exempt from sales and use taxes
AGAINST the 1% county sales and use tax
- It was wise of the state to require us to vote on this tax every four years so we have a chance to reject it.
- Sales taxes at 6% are too high in Albany County and should be reduced. Residents are already paying an extra 1% special purpose tax, so even if this measure fails, taxes in Albany County will be 5%, above the state-mandated 4%.
- Albany County and the municipalities of Laramie and Rock River are trying to provide more government services than the residents can afford. Instead they should focus on providing law enforcement, fire protection, streets, water, sewer, and waste disposal.
- A blanket “general revenue” tax just provides cash; someone in government will find a way to spend it. It would be better to charge fees for specific activities, or let us vote on a special purpose tax so we know ahead of time exactly how the money will be used. Using revenue from the “Fifth-penny” tax for matching purposes encourages spending that ultimately costs all residents more.
- In general, sales taxes are regressive. Poor people pay a higher percentage of their earnings in sales taxes because more of their income goes toward retail purchases. Nonprofits should not depend on public funds and should be sustained by contributions from those who use the services or believe in their mission.