URGENT: We Need Your Help to Lower Taxes!
Friends with a Wyoming address: Some context on SF42 (the tax proposal we’ve been working on for a couple years that’s currently making its way through the legislature). Long read, apologies.
Media coverage so far has been a shallow dive at best, focusing on just the cuts to the current cigar tax, which is part of the bill.
The “anti” folks are consumed with the usual youth access rhetoric, which I respect - as I also don’t believe kids should have access to the products we sell. The thing is, they don’t even try to come in our store to get them - as we’re not a product they desire. And if they did, we’re 21+ exclusively, and they wouldn’t be successful.
This bill accomplishes two things that are huge for a small handful of Wyoming small businesses like ours.
1. It puts us on (not equal) but more even price footing with large online competitors, which make up the lion’s share of sales in our category in WY, and currently pay 0% product tax vs our 20%, giving a large advantage to companies that don’t create jobs here, pay taxes here, spend their proceeds and use services here.
Local B&M’s of all stripes have a tough road in the age of Walmart and Amazon. You need only look as far as your local mall (if you still have one) to see the challenge. To stay afloat - we compete with service, unique offerings, product knowledge and education, recommendations, and delivering a good experience.
Lou Talbert’s sells less apparel in Wyoming than Amazon, but they compete as above and carve out their niche. If the Legislature proposed a new 20% product tax on cowboy hats and boots, applied only to in-state businesses, and collected 0% from Jeff Bezos on the same items, would that be fair? That’s exactly standard practice with businesses like ours for years.
2. The aforementioned tax is assessed not like sales tax (monthly, as products are sold) - but upon OUR purchase of the inventory, and due at the end of each quarter. Our products can sit 90-120+ days before they move…or not move at all. We end up “fronting” the tax to the Department Of Revenue without knowing if we’ll recoup our investment.
This bill correctly addresses that issue and changes to monthly as-sold collections, akin to the sales tax example.
This is not a Big Tobacco situation - we are the small fries, exclusively adult hobbyists who have a passion for our industry and the artisans who create our products. No different than those that enjoy the craft and culture surrounding small batch spirits, wine, microbrews, etc.
If you’re a fan of supporting local small businesses, this is the core purpose of the bill.
TL;DR: Please do us a solid and take 10 seconds to fill this out if you live anywhere in WY. It’ll go to your specific House & Senate official and will help us immeasurably.