There was support for a bill in the Wyoming House of Representatives that would have enabled county commissioners to set up tax districts to fund local airports. But the bill failed to pass muster last week, with a 30-30 vote not making the cut. Opponents of the pro-GA bill argued that it could result in increased taxation on mineral industries, even though agricultural and industrial property was exempted in an amendment to the bill.
Ironically, opponents of the measure also used the federal stimulus bill against passage of Senate File 4 (SF 4), arguing that the funding was not necessary in light of the possibility of the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) providing money for the state’s airports. Rep. Sandy Newsome (R-Cody) countered that ARPA was a “shot in the arm” compared to the “long-term solution” offered by SF 4.
Of nine commercial and 30-plus GA airports in the state, only three are able to support themselves financially, according to Rep. Joe MacGuire (R-Casper). He introduced SF 4, noting that the rest of the airports in smaller communities are funded largely by local government entities, and those communities are facing serious budget shortfalls. SF 4, he maintains, would bring long-term stability to the airports. And that the businesses that would be taxed to support SF 4 benefit greatly from the presence of the airports.