Feb 22, 2016

Legislature rejects tax-free rodeo tickets

A Cody lawmaker’s proposal to make rodeo tickets tax-free recently failed in the state House.

House Bill 157, sponsored by Rep. Sam Krone, R-Cody, needed a two-thirds majority vote for be introduced this budget session. Instead, more than three-quarters of the state’s representatives voted to kill the measure on Feb. 12.

Krone said on the House floor that the Cody Stampede Board has had a difficult time getting other businesses to sell Cody Nite Rodeo tickets “because they have to set up a separate system dealing particularly with those rodeo tickets and those sales.”

Tyler Waltz of Martin, Tennessee, competes during the 2015 Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede rodeo. The Legislature rejected a Cody lawmaker's proposal to make rodeo tickets tax-free. Cody News Co. file photo by Matt Naber
If the tax was gone and it wasn’t so difficult, he said more vendors could sell more tickets.

“(I)t would be a small amount that would not be received by the state, but you would have more folks staying in towns, going to rodeos, spending the night, spending their money in the communities,” Krone argued.

“Carving out exemptions to sales taxes is not a good thing,” countered Rep. Bunky Loucks, R-Casper. “Let’s let them pay the 5 percent.”

(Park County’s current sales tax rate is actually 4 percent.)

Another opponent, Rep. Mike Madden, R-Buffalo, noted the state already has 11-and-a-half pages of exemptions. Madden said he suspected rodeo enthusiasts in Cody are “happy to watch the show and they’re happy to pay their fair share of the cost of running Wyoming when they’re here.”

Forty-six lawmakers cast nay votes on the proposal, with just 13 in favor.

Reps. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, and David Northrup, R-Powell, joined Krone in voting aye. Rep. Elaine Harvey, R-Lovell, and Rep. Nathan Winters, R-Thermopolis, were among those voting no.

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