Governor kicks off 64th Legislature with State of the State address

WYOMING – Governor Matt Mead gave his 8th and final State of the State address in Cheyenne this morning to kick off the 64th Wyoming Legislature.

The budget session will run for 20 working days until Friday, March 9, 2018. As of today there are 222 bills and resolutions currently listed on the Wyoming Legislature website. New bills are being added daily with an expected total bill load of about 300.

During his address, which covered a wide range of topics including successes of his seven years in office, the 55-year-old governor urged lawmakers to look again at budget cuts made to social services and education.

The Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition is watching several bills and how they may affect tourism in the state. Chief among those is the statewide lodging tax.

A recommended 1% leisure and hospitality tax that had been proposed this interim to provide a dedicated funding source for the Wyoming Office of Tourism was defeated in the final Joint Revenue Committee meeting last month on a 6-6 vote. Leadership from both chambers has been pursuing a statewide lodging tax to fund tourism and get the agency off of the states general fund.

Last week two different statewide lodging tax bills were drafted and considered by the Management Council. The current proposal would create a 4% statewide lodging tax with 2% of it going towards state tourism funding. The other 2% would go back to local option lodging tax boards to be used for local promotion as normal.

The bill would then limit the amount of local option lodging tax to be voted on locally at 2% so that counties or municipalities still have the option of having up to 4% for local option lodging taxes.

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