April 14, 2020
Dear Management Council,
Thank you all for your service to Wyoming, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you all know, Wyoming small businesses are facing extraordinary challenges, with many closed or performing minimum operations during this pandemic.
Wyoming small businesses will be ready to get back to business when it is safe. Many will find themselves in financial situations that jeopardize their ability to re-hire all employees or even continue to operate.
With tourism as Wyoming’s second-biggest economy, getting our restaurants, lodging and retail uses back and stronger than ever has never been more vital. To show our small business owners that Wyoming’s leaders are supporting their efforts, we are asking for a 6-month deferral on commercial property taxes for the 2020 assessments, also including any 2019 assessments that are not yet paid.
We do not ask this lightly as we know these payments support our K-12 education system. However, making this decision will help shore up our foundation for taxes – small businesses throughout Wyoming. In turn, when our small businesses and tourist economy comes back, our tax resources will also be there to once again to support all of our education efforts.
When we look 3-5 years down the road, the best scenario will be that 95%+ of our Wyoming businesses will still be operating. While these deferments and cuts are difficult in the short term, their long-term benefits to mom and pop stores and lodging will be felt for decades to come.
After the six-month delay, if sales and use taxes are still down 35%, we ask that the State consider an across the board reduction in all commercial property taxes provided by money from the COVID-19 crisis and federal relief.
These steps will benefit all small businesses throughout Wyoming, whether they own the property or rent. As commercial renters will have these benefits passed down in their rent, and owners will have the benefit of working with their tenants.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter, and we very much appreciate all the work you are doing so soon after the session.
Jackson Hole Working