Taxing and Spending in Cheyenne

Quite a bit of email coming in about a proposed corporate income tax.  There is a bill to enable a corporate income tax.  It is limited to retail stores and intended to hit the “big box” retailers that have done so much damage to Main Street stores.

Nonetheless, it is an income tax all the same, something to which I – and many others – are adamantly opposed.

Why?  First, if it passes, it may be initially only on big box retailers, but can it only be a matter of time before bills are introduced to extend it to multiple other businesses?

Second, it may be initially only for corporations, but, again, wouldn’t it soon be conceivable to apply it to individuals as well?

Third, typically such taxes start out as targeting only “the rich.”  The federal income tax started as a 1% tax that “only the rich will pay.”  Generation by generation the “tax the wealthy” drumbeat went on, and the tax went up.  Today, everybody is subject to the income tax.  Unless you are poor, then it turns into a tax refund, at the expense of hard-working men and women everywhere, like you.  What happens is before long “the rich” comes to mean anybody with a job!

Fourth, government consumes every dollar available.  It grows in proportion to revenue.  Income taxes are a powerful revenue raiser.  And, an equally powerful grower of the size of government.  We need less – not more – government in America.

Fifth, raising taxes, income taxes or otherwise, feeds a false narrative that Cheyenne has done enough to rein in spending.  That is untrue.  While there were cuts during the downturn of 2008-09 – and significant cuts at that – there is still way too much waste, inefficiency and spending.

My vote is “No” to new taxes and tax hikes.  If there comes a day when it appears we’ve throttled back on spending, and there is a hue and cry from the folks I represent that Wyoming needs more spending and more taxes, I may reconsider. But, we are a long way from that day.

In other important matters, as I write, the bill to construct a veterans skilled nursing facility at the Veterans Home in Buffalo is coming up for consideration.  Vying for consideration are Casper and Sheridan.  I am an advocate for location in Buffalo.

The State of Wyoming operates five health care facilities – that State Hospital in Evanston, the Life Resource Center in Lander, the Pioneer Home in Thermopolis, the Retirement Center in Basin and the Veterans Home in Buffalo, formerly known as “The Soldiers and Sailors Home.”  It provides assisted living care to veterans from across Wyoming.  The proposal would add a skilled nursing component there.

A task force formed by the State in 2014 determined that the proper role of the government in health care facilities is to operate as a safety net, a provider of last resort.  This way, the State would not compete with private enterprise.

For over a century, the role of the Veterans Home has been precisely that, to first serve those who, due to circumstance or history, are unable to find a proper place closer to home. 

In 2016 the Legislature enacted a bill that clearly indicated that when funds became available, a veterans skilled nursing home was to be build on the Veterans Home campus.

Nonetheless, legislators for Casper and Sheridan will jockey for location in their communities.  As for me, I represent both Buffalo and Sheridan.  But, the veterans at the Veterans Home has clearly indicated their preference to stay where they are when they need a higher level of care, rather than relocate to a different community.

In the end, I feel we must respect the wishes of those most affected by the decision

Dave Kinskey represents Wyoming Senate District 22 which consists of Johnson County and eastern Sheridan county.  A businessperson and former Mayor of Sheridan, Kinskey can be reached at [email protected] or cell 751-6428.

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