During his presentation before the committee, Case emphasized the small share of electricity produced in Wyoming that’s consumed by residential and commercial buyers. Just 4% of the new tax would be borne by those groups, while 85% would be passed to out-of-state customers, he said. “That’s a good deal for Wyoming.”
With densely populated states like California and Washington demanding more wind energy than they can reasonably site within their borders, Case said, Wyoming has an opportunity to force those states to pay the bulk of its new electricity taxes.
But the committee wasn’t convinced. Rep. Mark Jennings, R-Sheridan County, questioned the practicality of moving away from fossil fuels — which he characterized as a bargaining chip for the state — when other states are still figuring out how to transition effectively to renewables. Sen. Jim Anderson, R-Casper, expressed concern about undermining the newly formed Wyoming Energy Authority as it refines the state’s energy strategy. Rep. Tim Hallinan, R-Campbell, called for a tax to be imposed only on wind and solar.
“That’s what California wants. They want wind energy. Well, let’s let them pay for it,” Hallinan said.
Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, was one of a handful of legislators to express support for the proposal. A gross receipts tax could help the state avoid favoring some power generation sources over others, he said. And Rep. Jim Roscoe, I-Wilson, argued that, at the very least, it would be an alternative option for the committee to compare with the current generation tax model.