Bill To Create Airport Districts In Wyoming Counties Dies On Tie Vote

This story first appeared on Cowboy State Daily

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A measure that would allow the creation of airport districts within counties to help pay for the operations of local airports was killed in Wyoming’s House on Thursday on a tie vote.

Representatives voted 30-30 against Senate File 4 and then rejected an effort to reconsider the vote. A bill must receive a majority of votes cast to be approved in the Legislature.

The bill would have allowed the creation a special district to support local airports, with residents inside the district charged an extra property tax to finance the airports’ operations and maintenance. The districts would have taken over all operations of the airports.

The bill died with no debate after Rep. Ocean Andrew, R-Laramie, questioned using property taxes to finance the districts.

“I’m concerned this bill may have unintentionally created an extremely regressive way to create revenue for airports,” he said.

Andrew offered an amendment, which he later withdrew, that would have imposed a landing fee on aircraft using the airports.

He said the extra property tax would hurt someone who may live on a limited income, while the person actually using the airport would not have to pay anything for its use unless they lived within the airport district.

“SF4 would allow the voters to impose an extra tax on (a low-income resident) for the purpose of paying for the millionaire (flying into an airport), who will pay nothing more,” he said.

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