Sales tax revenues dropped in many Wyoming counties
State sales tax revenues were down during the first economic quarter of 2020 but it wasn’t directly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report from the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division, revenues mostly fell due to low oil prices, which led to a decrease in production.
“It’s a big hit because Wyoming’s oil revenue has become so important right now. It’s bigger than natural gas and bigger than coal. And that’s why anytime you have an oil price decline it will directly hit Wyoming’s revenue pool,” said Wenlin Liu, Wyoming Economic Analysis Division Chief Economist.
The first quarter runs from Jan. 1 through March 31.
Compared to the first quarter of 2019, many Wyoming counties, including Natrona and Laramie had drops in sales tax revenues. Natrona County dropped 7.2 percent and Laramie County dropped 4.2 percent.
Sublette County had the largest dip, 40.7 percent.
Liu said the dip in oil prices was caused by increased global production and reduced worldwide demand due to COVID-19. The pandemic has kept people inside so they aren’t driving and planes aren’t flying, reducing demand for oil.
He said counties that saw major increases in sales tax revenues, including Carbon, Goshen, Crook and Niobrara Counties, had a large increase due to specific major projects in those communities.