Total sales and use tax collections in fiscal year (FY) 2019 continued to rebound at a strong pace, according to an annual report released by the Economic Analysis Division. The report (44th edition), entitled “Wyoming Sales, Use, and Lodging Tax Revenue Report,” is produced annually and contains sales and use tax collection information categorized by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) super sector. In addition, sales tax collections for the retail trade sub sector components, and for the accommodation and food services sector are provided in the report. Also included in this publication are yearly lodging tax collections by local entity.
Total sales and use tax collections for FY 2019, reached $1,018.9 million, an increase of 11.9 percent from the previous year level. The year over year growth rate for the state-imposed 4% tax collections was 11.8 percent, in contrast to a growth rate of 17.1 percent in the previous year. “Even with the two consecutive fiscal years of increases, the amount of total sales and use taxes for fiscal year 2019 was still about 5.0 percent lower than that of fiscal year 2015, before the economic downturn in the state,” said Dr. Wenlin Liu, Chief Economist with the Economic Analysis Division. Because locally imposed optional taxes often change during a fiscal year, an accurate comparison should only include the state-imposed 4% taxes to reflect changes in taxable sales over time.
As supply and demand rebalance, oil prices, though still fluctuated and relatively low, have rebounded considerably since early 2016. Consequently, activities in oil exploration continued to recover, particularly in the eastern Wyoming, as evidenced by the increase of active oil drilling rigs in the state from fifteen in January 2018 to twenty-two in January 2019. Production was boosted by approximately 18 percent between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019. As a result, total collections in sales and use taxes experienced year-over-year increases in every month for fiscal year 2019. All industrial super sectors experienced growth. The state’s pivotal industry – mining (including oil & gas extraction) demonstrated an increase of 19.5 percent, where most of the growth were attributed to use tax collections through the purchase and construction of oil pipeline structures. The State does not impose a sales tax on the production of minerals, but on supplies and equipment used in mineral extraction. Additionally, certain services rendered within an oil or gas well site are subject to sales and use taxation, as are services rendered under contract for mining and crushing minerals. Other industries that are closely associated with the mining sector, such as manufacturing, transportation & warehousing, and financial activities (including automotive, machinery, and equipment leasing and rental) experienced at least double-digit increases, each. Collections from the retail trade industry, the largest in terms of sales tax contribution, also experienced a significant increase of 13.0 percent from a year earlier (partially attributed to tax submissions by more remote sellers). The public administration sector, where sales and use tax collections primarily reflect automobile purchases, grew 6.6 percent.
Annual sales and use tax collections in twenty-one of Wyoming’s twenty-three counties expanded from previous year levels. Converse County recorded the fastest increase of 53.4 percent, followed by Platte County’s 28.3 percent, and Weston County’s 27.4 percent from the fiscal year 2018 level. Carbon, Crook, and Goshen counties also showed boost of over 20.0 percent, respectively. “The strong expansions in these counties were mainly driven by increased oil drilling and utility structure construction activities,” commented Liu. Only Sublette and Fremont counties experienced annual declines in fiscal year 2019, -17.3 and -1.1 percent, respectively. This was mostly due to reduced activities in conventional natural gas drilling caused by weak prices.
Total lodging tax collections, $21.6 million for fiscal year 2019, were up significantly from the $20.2 million collected in the previous year, or 6.7 percent. Converse County experienced the fastest growth, at 48.1 percent, followed by Weston (30.4%) and Goshen (26.5%) counties. Five other counties, Campbell, Carbon, Natrona, Platte, and Sweetwater, also demonstrated robust double-digit growth rates, respectively. However, Teton County, the largest in terms of lodging tax collections due to its geographical inclusion of national parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, experienced a moderate growth of 3.8 percent, the slowest pace since 2011 when the lodging tax was reinstated. Lodging taxes in Sublette and Lincoln counties showed the largest declines, -5.7 and -5.5 percent, each, in fiscal year 2019.