Wyoming’s Fiscal Stability Offers Business Advantages

With tax and cost structures, incentives, public policy and strong quality of place, Wyoming has created a favorable regulatory environment for business.

By
Joe Morris
On Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 13:08

Wyoming may be known as the Equality State, but it’s head and shoulders above most of the other 49 when it comes to doing business. In fact, there are three compelling reasons to locate and grow a business in Wyoming, says Bob Jensen, president and CEO of the Wyoming Business Council.

“First, the overall cost of doing business here is lower than almost any other state,” he says. “Second, it’s easy to get things done here. We have easy access to elected officials and staff in counties. We know each other, and work well together. And third, and most important, is Wyoming’s regulatory environment. We have a stable, conservative government and a stable fiscal picture.”

What Makes Wyoming Different

Wyoming is well managed, Jensen says. From a fiscal standpoint, the state has no deficit, which makes it unnecessary to raise taxes on business to cover budget shortfalls.

“We try to be as accommodating as possible," Jensen says. "We have rules – that’s necessary – but we’re consistent. We don’t change things on a whim. We’re business-friendly and that translates into less risk and less cost doing business here.”

Wyoming doesn’t have a corporate income tax, nor does it have an individual income tax. Its sales and property taxes are low, and there isn’t an inventory tax.

“Any tax you can think of is going to be lower here than almost any other state,” Jensen says. “The reason is because we’re an energy-producing state, and we have a number of companies extracting minerals from our state."

The taxes related to those activities strike a balance between recognizing the loss of value to the state and keeping that taxation low enough that it encourages development of resources, Jensen says.

"We’re a huge producer of energy to the rest of the nation, and that production enables tax structures that are favorable to businesses,” he says.

Declare Wyoming

As a way to help businesses understand they can declare freedom and independence within the parameters of the governance of business, the Wyoming Business Council created the Declare Wyoming campaign.

“You can run your business in Wyoming the way you intend to run it without fear of regulatory burdens,” Jensen says. “We wanted to get the word out and the campaign continues to resonate with a lot of businesses.”

Jensen says his office has fielded numerous inquiries because of the campaign: “It’s not just recruitment,” he says. “It’s a celebration of Wyoming’s existing businesses. They’re here on purpose because of our business climate.”

L&H Industrial, a Gillette-based company that designs and manufactures aftermarket parts for mining shovels, draglines and drills, has more than 50 years of history in Wyoming.

“The benefits of Wyoming are the people,” says L&H President Mike Wandler, who participated in the Declare Wyoming testimonial campaign. “We’ve got a great staff, especially tradesmen. There’s a strong work ethic in Wyoming. L&H is here to stay. Wyoming has been great to us and continues to be an ideal place to have your company and corporate headquarters.”

Focus on Sectors

Wyoming is an energy production state, with the economy fueled in part by the energy and mineral industries – companies that Jensen calls good corporate citizens. His office is also interested in recruiting the digital industry, with more data centers and Internet-related companies.

“A number of data centers have grown up here and expanded,” he says. “Some come from outside, such as Microsoft, Echostar and the Dish Network. These digital industries are taking advantage of low power costs and our high-capacity broadband. They’ve found our great climate to help lower overall costs for their operations. We’ve got some high visibility successes, and we hope they bring others.”

To attract these high-tech employers, the Wyoming Business Council works closely with the University of Wyoming, as well as the state’s community colleges, to offer the right curriculum. The Business Council also helps existing employers keep employees’ skills up to date through its workforce training fund.

“Not only are we working on the front end to ensure that our students are workforce ready, we’re also helping facilitate specific skill set training,” says Jensen.

A Great Place to Live

And Wyoming offers a great quality of life.

“We’re a small state – the least-populated state,” Jensen says. “We have a terrific outdoor lifestyle. If you’re interested in a relatively rural environment, enjoy the ease of getting around town, and like to know your neighbors and make a difference in the community, you can get that done in Wyoming.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joe Morris is a Nashville-based writer and editor.