CHEYENNE — After a year of work, legislation to introduce a corporate income tax — a source of significant controversy in the past year — will not be heard in the 2020 legislative session, House Speaker Steve Harshman confirmed in an interview Friday morning.
Sponsored by Rep. Jerry Obermueller, R-Casper, the bill would have levied an income tax on publicly traded companies with more than 100 shareholders, an effort, he said, to extract revenues from big box stores like Walmart that he believed could absorb the costs due to their national pricing models.
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Critics, however, speculated the legislation — which would have raised about $20 million per year — could potentially lead to increased prices, lost jobs or store closures. Others called the legislation unworkable, saying that it unfairly created divisions between publicly traded chains and large private companies, which they said would be given unfair advantage under the bill.
The pressure that elicited was enough to keep the bill off the floor this year, though Obermueller said he is willing to revisit the conversation.
“The timing isn’t right this session,” he said in a text message. “But I will keep working on all issues that address the changing times in Wyoming and our overreliance on energy producers.”