Councilman thinks online sales tax will help cities' budget slumps
A Rock Springs City Councilman believes increased internet shopping has resulted in sales tax declines seen in both Green River and Rock Springs.
David Halter, a councilman who works as the information technology director for the Sweetwater County Combined Communication Joint Powers Board, said sales tax revenue, which has declined in Sweetwater County for the past several years, has fallen partly due to the oil and gas industry not making large purchases within the county. However, Halter also believes increases in online commerce has also cut into the amount of sales tax generated for municipalities.
This year, sales tax revenues have fallen by nearly 15 percent from last year and 20 percent from two years ago.
In Wyoming, sales tax is used to fund municipal governments. Counties can also levy additional percentages such as with Sweetwater County’s fifth and sixth-penny sales taxes.
Halter plans to lobby legislators in Cheyenne to consider collecting sales tax from large-scale retailers like Amazon. Halter said Utah legislators were able to pursue a deal with the e-commerce giant, with Amazon charging Utah residents appropriate state and county sales taxes in return for a percentage of the sales tax generated.