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November 2017 Legislative Update

The Wyoming Retail Association monitors and engages in all business related legislative issues at the state and federal level, to protect and promote Wyoming’s retail industry. As Wyoming continues to grapple with a $400 million education-funding deficit, the Wyoming Legislature will continue to explore all options to offset the shortfall. Your association is monitoring and participating in these discussions as we head towards the 2018 Legislative Budget Session, set to convene on February 12, 2018.

Federal Issues

Tax Reform: The House of Representatives passed major tax reform legislation along party lines, advancing a key agenda item for President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans.
The vote was 227-205, with 13 House Republicans joining all Democrats to oppose the bill. While the bill's passage in the GOP-controlled House was largely drama free, the prospects for the measure are unclear in the Senate where Republicans hold a slim two-seat majority. On Wednesday, Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson announced he opposes the current Senate version and a handful of others have raised concerns. Republican leaders have vowed to get a tax bill to the President's desk by the end of the year.



State Issues

Online Sales Tax Collection
As of July 1, 2017 all online retailers selling into Wyoming with more than $100,000 in annual sales or more than 200 transactions annually are statutorily required to collect and remitting sales tax, just like their Main Street counterparts. The passage of HB-19 Sales From Remote Sellers was a significant victory for the Wyoming Retail Association and for Main Street Retailers across our state. While many vendors licensed and began collecting and remitting the owed tax, several of the largest online only retailers entered into a lawsuit with the State of Wyoming over the bill. The South Dakota Supreme Court just heard that state’s case related to the issue and is expected to petition the US Supreme Court to hear the case later this Fall. Should the South Dakota case hit any unexpected hurdles, the Wyoming bill was written as a perfect vehicle to get the issue in front of the US Supreme Court. Stay tuned to the WRA e-newsletter as this critical retail issue continues to unfold.


Liquor Licenses and Fee’s
The Joint revenue Committee is considering several bills drafts aimed at raising taxes and fees on the sale of liquor, beer and wine in Wyoming.
The first measure would increase the maximum profit to the state from alcoholic liquor sales. This measure establishes sales must be made at prices sufficient to return the cost of merchandise and all expenses of operation together with a profit, not to exceed seventeen and six-tenths percent (17.6%) twenty and six-tenths percent (20.6%). 
You can view the draft bill here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/InterimCommittee/2017/03-1106APPENDIXK.pdf

The second measure would increase the tax on malt beverages to four and three-fourths cents ($.0475) per liter (33.8 ounces). You can view the bill draft here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/InterimCommittee/2017/03-1106APPENDIXM.pdf

Tobacco Taxes
There are currently two bills seeking to raise taxes on tobacco products.
The first would raise the tax on cigarettes and would increase the percentage of distribution to local governments. The bill draft can be found here. http://legisweb.state.wy.us/InterimCommittee/2017/03-1106APPENDIXE.pdf

The second bill would raise the tax on all tobacco products and would divert a percentage of the taxed collected to support school funding in Wyoming. The bill draft can be found here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/InterimCommittee/2017/03-1106APPENDIXF.pdf

Pharmacy
During the 2017 Legislative General Session the Wyoming Pharmacy Act was amended and updated in numerous chapters. The proposed language related to bio similar was problematic for WRA pharmacy members. We were able to work with the bill sponsor and other interested parties to have the bio similar language removed with an agreement that we would work with the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy on agreeable language to be proposed for the 2018 session. The Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Committee agreed to sponsor the bill as a committee bill for the upcoming session. At their September meeting the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy approved our recommended language. Unfortunately, there has been some missteps with the draft bill language and the bill needs some re-working before being ready for the session. Please keep a close eye on the WRA e-news for updates on this proposed legislation.

Joint Revenue Committee-Interim
The Joint Revenue Committee has one sets of meetings left in the 2017 interim. They will meet in Cheyenne on December 4-5, 2017. The committee is exploring the possibility of a handful of proposed new taxed. Please review the December agenda closely and let us know if there is a topic for the WRA board to consider taking a position on. The agenda for the December meeting can be found here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/interimCommittee/2017/03AGD1204.pdf

 

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Wyoming Retail Association (WRA)
P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003  Phone: (307) 634-8816, Fax (307) 632-0249