ARCHIVED  December 1, 1996

Wyo. energy firms subsidize resident services

LARAMIE – For those who think luring new businesses to Wyoming would help expand the tax base, here’s some food for thought: A University of Wyoming study suggests that tax revenues generated by workers don’t repay the costs of providing public services to them.The statewide economic analysis of Wyoming’s tax structure was conducted by Shelby Gerking, chairman of the Department of Economics and Finance in UW’s College of Business and a longtime promoter of state economic development.
New businesses and jobs do add to the state’s overall economy, of course, and generally are seen as being beneficial by providing employment and expanding the total economy. But strictly speaking, neither the businesses nor their workers generate enough state tax revenue to repay the cost of services, the study found.
That’s because Wyoming’s tax structure is heavily tilted toward taxes on the mineral and energy industries. Wyoming has no personal or corporate income tax, its property taxes generally are among the lowest in the nation, and it also ranks at or near the bottom in most other consumer or excise taxes, such as on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. The state sales tax is 4 percent, with local options of up to 2 percent.
The disparity also results because it is relatively expensive to provide public services in a state such as Wyoming with large areas but sparse population.
“This conclusion is true for both low-wage and high-wage earners and also applies to people already living in the state,” Gerking said in his report. Even workers with incomes in excess of $100,000 do not generate enough tax revenue to cover their use of public services, his analysis shows.Mall expects strong holiday seasonCHEYENNE – Frontier Mall hopes to continue its tradition of setting new quarterly sales records with a strong holiday season.
The mall is coming off a great third quarter with sales up 7.3 percent at shops, exclusive of the department stores and theaters. That compares with increases of between 1 percent and 2 percent during the first two quarters of the year.”We had an absolutely wonderful third quarter,´ said mall marketing director Jodee McClure, noting that the third-quarter figures did not include sales at several of the mall’s splashiest new additions in the Limited Group.
But setting new quarterly sales records is nothing new at Frontier Mall. Sales have been up every quarter but two dating back to the late 1980s, according to mall manager Ethan Levine.
Levine is particularly optimistic this holiday season because consumer confidence appears to be up, there’s no threat of a federal government shutdown like last year, the election is over and Wall Street is maintaining its optimism. Plus, the mall has some interesting new shops.Nationally, retailers are hoping to increases sales by 3 percent to 6 percent, though McClure says those hopes may be a bit too optimistic. The Frontier Mall will be full for the holidays with permanent and holiday tenants – including Santa, who arrived Nov. 21.Buttrey opens in CheyenneCHEYENNE – Take a 100-year-old grocery company, buy a big store and completely remodel it, invite everyone in the neighborhood to a grand opening and toss in plenty of freebies and sales and what do you get? Bedlam!The new Buttrey Big Fresh in Cheyenne opened its doors on a recent Sunday morning, and thousands of shoppers, bargain hunters and just-plain gawkers turned normally spacious isles into gridlock.
“It was pandemonium,” exclaimed manager Dennis Sweeney. “It was a little overwhelming, but it’s been very exciting.”
Buttrey Big Fresh, the first in Wyoming, is a new concept in full-service grocery stores, with plenty of fresh meats, seafood and produce, lots of service and extras such as a food court – even an American National Bank branch coming in December. “It’s the wave of the future,´ said Sweeney, who started as a bag boy growing up in Great Falls, Mont.The store recorded 6,000 transactions on opening day and had at least twice that many people roaming the aisles.Dennis E. Curran can be reached at (307) 778-3666.
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LARAMIE – For those who think luring new businesses to Wyoming would help expand the tax base, here’s some food for thought: A University of Wyoming study suggests that tax revenues generated by workers don’t repay the costs of providing public services to them.The statewide economic analysis of Wyoming’s tax structure was conducted by Shelby Gerking, chairman of the Department of Economics and Finance in UW’s College of Business and a longtime promoter of state economic development.
New businesses and jobs do add to the state’s overall economy, of course, and generally are seen as being beneficial by providing…

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