More Misguided Tax Cuts Aimed at Senior Property-Owners

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Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal recently proposed a constitutional amendment for his state as well, offering a plan to cut property taxes for the elderly. An amendment is necessary as Wyoming's constitution requires that all property be assigned its full value for tax purposes in one of three classes - mineral, industrial, and personal. More specifically, the Governor's plan would exempt one half of the fair market value of an elderly taxpayer's residence from taxation, up to $100,000, resulting in an average tax cut of $638 for senior property owners and in an annual revenue loss of $15 to $18 million.

Given that Wyoming already has two means-tested property tax relief programs - one targeted to the elderly and another for all taxpayers - and a third not presently funded by the legislature, one could legitimately ask whether the goal of alleviating property taxes for those least able to pay them would be best accomplished through the Governor's amendment. Reed Eckhart of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle poses that question and others in his recent column, arguing for all Wyomingites to contribute to public structures like schools and roads.

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