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Governor Gordon Signs Four Bills Expanding and Extending Property Tax Relief 

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon speaks during his state of the state speech February 12, 2024 in the House Chambers at the Wyoming State Capitol Building. Photo by Michael Smith

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Reflecting his call for fair and equitable property tax relief made in his State of the State speech, Governor Mark Gordon signed four bills today that will reduce property taxes to those Wyoming residents who need it most.

The Governor signed HB0003 – Property tax exemption for long-term homeowners; HB0045 – Property tax exemption-residential structures and land; and SF0089 – Veterans ad valorem exemption-amount. House Bill 3 provides an exemption of 50% of a property’s value for primary residence homeowners if the primary owner of the residence or their spouse is 65 or older and has paid property taxes in the state for 25 years or more. House Bill 45 puts a 4% cap on year-to-year property tax increases on residential structures and land, while Senate File 89 doubles the veterans tax exemption from $3,000 to $6,000 of assessed value. 

“I am happy to sign this package of legislation, which provides targeted relief to taxpayers most impacted by increasing valuations, while ensuring our counties and schools are able to continue to provide the services our residents rely on,” Governor Gordon said. “There was an identified need, and this legislature responded to that.”

Governor Gordon exercised his line-item veto authority on HB0004 – Property tax refund program, removing the highest income category from the program. In his letter explaining the line-item, the Governor said the bill brings expanded and needed relief, but expressed concern that the $20 million appropriated by the Legislature would be insufficient to fund the program if that highest income category was included.

“I want to thank the Legislature for answering the call and funding an expansion of this program, which helped more than 9,000 Wyoming families last year,” Governor Gordon said.

The Governor vetoed SF0054 – Homeowner tax exemption, expressing concern that the exemption was not targeted and jeopardized the financial stability of the state and counties. It  represented, “a socialistic type of wealth transfer, mostly from the energy sector, to Wyoming homeowners.” The backfill of lost local tax revenue to local school districts, cities, towns, counties and special districts would likely cost the state more than $220 million for the biennium, the Governor wrote.  

“The Bidenomic-type of ‘tax relief’ in this bill is what I would expect from Washington, D.C. liberals, not conservative Wyoming legislators,” the Governor added. “It is a temporary relief measure that could lead to budget shortfalls, and will ultimately be paid for by raising taxes on our children.”

Governor Gordon issued a line-item veto to HB0166 – Education savings accounts-1 to address constitutional concerns over the use of state funds. The bill establishes an education savings account program that provides funding to parents for their children’s education expenses, ranging from pre-kindergarten through age 21. The Governor’s line item veto preserves funding for those students whose household income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. 

“While the intent to support education and parent choice is commendable, my analysis revealed practical and constitutional complications within the bill’s provisions,” the Governor wrote in his letter. Citing his desire to see the program ultimately succeed, the Governor said he was prepared to press these issues as they relate to religious societies or institutions. 

“By proceeding carefully, with a clear understanding of both the benefits and challenges associated with education savings accounts, we can work towards a system that enhances parental choice while maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of our public education system,” he wrote. 

Governor Gordon also vetoed SF0067 – Public employee retirement plan-contributions. The Governor said the bill’s effect would be to reduce the take-home pay of state employees at a time when inflation eats away at the purchasing power of all Wyoming families.

Governor Gordon allowed the following bills to go into law without his signature:

HEA0055 HB0092 Protection of parental rights.

SEA0055 SF0006 Nursing home administrators-temporary licenses.

The Governor signed the following bills today:

HEA0044 HB0003 Property tax exemption for long-term homeowners.

SEA0061 SF0089 Veterans ad valorem exemption-amount.

HEA0054 HB0045 Property tax exemption-residential structures and land.

The Governor’s letters addressing his vetos and the bills he allowed to go into law without his signature, along with the full list of bills he has taken action on during the 2024 Legislative Session can be found on the Bills page of the Governor’s website.

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