Lodging Tax Bill Advances
Written by Andrew-Rossi on February 20, 2019
A proposed statewide lodging tax that would fund state tourism promotion efforts cleared a Senate committee on Tuesday.
The Senate Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee voted 3-1 to advance House Bill 66. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives.
Currently, the state does not impose a lodging tax. Park County currently imposes a four percent lodging tax, of which ninety percent can be used for local grants and marketing and up to 10 percent can go to general revenue.
Claudia Wade with the Park County Travel Council says that under the new proposal, a 5 percent statewide lodging tax would be imposed – which means higher rates for people who stay in lodging properties here.
Under the new tax structure, the state and counties would share the estimated $32 million a year in new revenue, and once the four percent tax expires next November, Park County voters can determine if they want an additional 2 percent lodging tax.
The Wyoming Office of Tourism has an annual budget of about $12.5 million, which is currently supplied by the general fund. The passage of a statewide lodging tax means that the Tourism Office would be funded solely by that tax, releasing that $12.5 million back into the general fund.
Wyoming ranks 31st in the nation in tourism marketing spending, according to state tourism executive director Diane Shober. She says that South Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Montana all spend more than Wyoming to attract potential tourists.