WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
Property tax rates have been skyrocketing as property values have been rising across the state. Property tax hikes present a significant issue for many, especially retirees and other folks living on a fixed income. Homeowners are not the only ones who are affected; renters are also experiencing massive rent increases as landlords pass on these rising costs to tenants.
During the 2023 legislative session, property tax hikes became a bipartisan issue. The property tax issue continues to make headlines in Teton County, and it has become especially acute over the last five years.
We have heard from our members that property tax relief and reform is at the forefront of their minds. We enthusiastically support property tax relief for local residents who are at risk of losing their primary home. We are especially concerned about those living on fixed incomes who have no ability to afford tax hikes.
In order to combat our revenue shortage, we also want to ensure that we are able to capture tax income from second or eighth homeowners, or other high-income earners who do not need tax relief.
Senate Joint Resolution 3 passed in March 2023 thanks to the dedication of our local delegation including Representative Storer. As a result, voters will consider a constitutional amendment on their ballots in 2024. Right now, residential properties are taxed at the same amount as commercial and industrial property. If passed, this amendment will allow different kinds of properties to be taxed at different rates. The amendment also contains specific language referring to taxing primary and secondary residences differently. For example, this amendment would allow Teton County to impose one levy for primary homes and one for secondary residences.
In a state with low overall taxes, no income tax, and no real estate transfer tax, revenue streams are few and far between. Historically, Wyoming schools have been funded primarily by property taxes and mineral/natural resource extraction revenue. With coal demand plummeting, Wyoming is in a budget crisis.
This situation has made it even more difficult for legislators to deliver tax relief to Wyomingites while continuing to fund the state’s essential services. There were some major bills passed in 2023 addressing property tax—see our detailed timeline below for more information.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
- ShelterJH member Karlene Owens is convening a group at Representative Storer’s request to discuss property tax reform. Please email email@example.com if you are interested in participating.
- Make sure you are up-to-date with your property tax relief knowledge, and be sure to access those resources if you qualify
- Make sure you vote YES on the constitutional amendment to create new classes of property tax in November 2024!
- Contact your local State Representative and/or Senator to let them know how you feel about property tax increases. Find your legislator here.
Although approaching representatives can be intimidating, remember their job is to listen to you!
Why doesn’t ShelterJH support property tax caps?
Although property tax caps seem like a simple solution to this issue, tax caps actually offer the most relief to the highest earners. While we want to provide relief to those on the lower end of the income scale, we do not want to lose the ability to capture revenue from those who are purchasing luxury/multiple homes in Teton County. A cap on property tax would only further incentivize those seeking tax shelters to purchase property in Wyoming.
What about basing property tax assessments on acquisition value, or the sale price of a home?
Please refer to this article for that information, as the Wyoming legislature hired consultants to explore this idea. The consultants determined that an acquisition-based property tax system would be unconstitutional and present revenue issues for the state.
- 3/2/23: Governor Gordon signs House Bill 99 which enables more Wyomingites to qualify for tax relief
- 3/3: Governor signs Senate Joint Resolution 3, which will bring a constitutional amendment to the ballot in 2024 that would allow the creation new classes of property tax
- 6/26: State Revenue Committee meeting about property tax reform (local Representatives Byron and Storer are on this committee)
- 10/4: Report determines that Teton County nets highest property tax relief in the state
- Joint Revenue Committee votes against bill draft that would set property tax assessment on acquisition value
Last updated 11/17/23