By Robert Davis, The Center Square
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed an executive order on Friday that he says will provide tax relief for businesses in the state.
“We recognize that every employer in the state was impacted in some way by the pandemic, and many saw their unemployment insurance rates increase – some substantially – this year,” Gordon said in a statement. “This Executive Order protects Wyoming businesses that have continually risen to the challenges in this new environment.”
The order removes all unemployment insurance (UI) benefit claims filed between March 13 and Dec. 31, 2020, and allows businesses to deduct these claims as tax credits. It also applies to business owners who saw their unemployment taxes increase in 2021.
The executive order, which was approved by the Wyoming Legislature last year, is meant to ensure “employers do not continue to experience significant UI tax rate increases due to the system-wide surge in unemployment claims that occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Gordon’s office said in the announcement.
According to the order, the unemployment tax rates for Wyoming businesses will drop after Oct. 31. Businesses will also receive a notification from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services regarding how much they can claim in UI tax credits.
Gordon backfilled the state’s UI Trust Fund with $58 million from federal funds so future UI tax rates won’t be impacted. He previously added $64 million to the trust fund to prevent rates from increasing.
“It is important that we ensure that this significant tax relief does not necessitate an increase in UI tax rates at a later date,” Gordon said.
According to the latest data from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, the number of UI claims in the state continued to decline in August with just 1,282 total claims. That’s down 75% from a year ago when the agency received more than 5,100 claims.
The Center Square is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on state- and local-level government and economic reporting.