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Wyoming House kill bill that would allow airport districts to raise taxes on tie 30-30 vote

A TSA worker screens passengers at the Casper/Natrona County International Airport. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming House of Representatives defeated Senate File 4 on a tie third reading vote of 30-30 on Thursday, April 1. The legislation would have allowed for the creation of airport special districts which would be able to levy a tax of up to three mills on property within the district with voter approval.

Rep. Ocean Andrew (Albany County) said he was “concerned that this bill may have unintentionally created an extremely regressive way to create revenue for airports.”

He described a possible scenario in which an elderly person living in an airport district in west Laramie living on a small budget could be required to help pay for airport project costs that a rich person flying in to see University of Wyoming football games would benefit from without having to pay the taxes.

“Senate File 04 would allow for the voters to impose an extra tax on the woman for the purpose of paying for the airport for the millionaire who will pay nothing more,” Andrew said.

When the bill was being debated in the Senate, Sen. Bill Landen (Natrona County) argued that the bill would help airports maintain their facilities and that airports are “so important to our economic development.”

“These airports are running in a deficit of somewhere in the neighborhood out across our state of $55 million a year that we are adding to that deferred maintenance,” Landen said.

The House’s 30-30 vote defeating the bill was as follows:

  • Ayes: BANKS, BURKHART, CLIFFORD, CONNOLLY, DUNCAN, EYRE, HARSHMAN, HEINER, HENDERSON, KINNER, LARSEN, L, MACGUIRE, MARTINEZ, NEWSOME, NICHOLAS, OAKLEY, OBERMUELLER, O’HEARN, PAXTON, PROVENZA, ROSCOE, SCHWARTZ, SHERWOOD, SOMMERS, STITH, SWEENEY, WHARFF, WILSON, YIN, ZWONITZER
  • Nays: ANDREW, BAKER, BEAR, BLACKBURN, BROWN, BURT, CLAUSEN, CRAGO, EKLUND, FLITNER, FORTNER, GRAY, GREEAR, HALLINAN, HAROLDSON, HUNT, JENNINGS, BARLOW, KNAPP, LAURSEN, D, NEIMAN, OLSEN, OTTMAN, SIMPSON, STYVAR, WALTERS, WASHUT, WESTERN, WILLIAMS, WINTER

The House also defeated a motion to reconsider Senate File 4 on a vote of 26-34:

  • Ayes: BANKS, BROWN, CLIFFORD, CONNOLLY, DUNCAN, EYRE, HARSHMAN, HENDERSON, BARLOW, LARSEN, L, MACGUIRE, NICHOLAS, OAKLEY, OBERMUELLER, O’HEARN, OTTMAN, PAXTON, PROVENZA, ROSCOE, SCHWARTZ, SHERWOOD, SOMMERS, SWEENEY, WILSON, YIN, ZWONITZER
  • Nays: ANDREW, BAKER, BEAR, BLACKBURN, BURKHART, BURT, CLAUSEN, CRAGO, EKLUND, FLITNER, FORTNER, GRAY, GREEAR, HALLINAN, HAROLDSON, HEINER, HUNT, JENNINGS, KINNER, KNAPP, LAURSEN, D, MARTINEZ, NEIMAN, NEWSOME, OLSEN, SIMPSON, STITH, STYVAR, WALTERS, WASHUT, WESTERN, WHARFF, WILLIAMS, WINTER

The Senate had previously passed the legislation on a vote of 18-12 on March 8. That vote was as follows:

  • Ayes: ANDERSON, BALDWIN, COOPER, DOCKSTADER, DRISKILL, ELLIS, FURPHY, GIERAU, KOLB, KOST, LANDEN, NETHERCOTT, PAPPAS, PERKINS, ROTHFUSS, SALAZAR, SCHULER, WASSERBURGER
  • Nays: BITEMAN, BONER, BOUCHARD, CASE, FRENCH, HICKS, HUTCHINGS, JAMES, KINSKEY, MCKEOWN, SCOTT, STEINMETZ

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