A legislative committee has resurrected a many-times-failed real estate transfer tax, a levy that proponents say could help turn the corner on a workforce housing crisis that’s fraying the community fabric of Wyoming’s costliest locale.
The idea behind the county-optional 1% tax, which has been repeatedly introduced by Teton County’s delegates, is to assess a sales tax on real estate transactions above a certain threshold. In its current form, the bill being carried forward by the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee could generate perhaps $20 million annually for subsidized, deed-restricted housing or for other community needs, Rep. Mike Yin (D-Jackson) estimated.
The tax structure being considered would allow counties to exempt up to the first $1.5 million of any real estate transaction. So if a home sold for $3 million, only half of that total might be taxed at the 1% levy if the county sought the full exempted amount. But the proposed legislation also allows counties to set the threshold lower, making the tax a viable option for counties where home prices aren’t so exorbitant.