Severance Taxes Fuel Wyoming’s Tenth Highest in the Nation Tax Burden for 2013

Mar 22, 2015

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Wyoming collected $3.5 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Wyoming taxpayer can afford this level of taxation. 

As shown in Chart 1, Wyoming’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the tenth highest in the nation for FY 2013 at 11.4 percent—this is 10 percent above the national average of 10.3 percent. As shown in Chart 2, due to the rise in severance taxes, Wyoming’s tax burden has grown tremendously over time by 66 percent to 11.4 percent in FY 2013 from 6.8 percent in FY 1950.

Wyoming State and Local Tax Burden Rank 2013.jpg

However, If all other taxes, such as severance taxes, were excluded from Wyoming’s tax burden then Wyoming would rank as the lowest tax burden in the country at 7.3 percent. This low ranking stems from the fact that Wyoming does not have a state individual or corporate income tax.

#Wyoming #taxburden has increased 66% between FY 1950 to 2013 to 11.4% from 6.8%. (click to tweet)


Wyoming severance taxes on oil, gas, and coal also fuels their Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund (pdf) enshrined in their constitution in 1975. According to the Wyoming Taxpayers Association, the Fund has paid $3.2 billion into the state’s general fund between 1975 and 2012. Unlike Alaska which pays taxpayers directly from their Fund, Wyoming is using the proceeds from their Fund to keep other taxes low—North Dakota should take note as they launch their Legacy Fund.

Additionally, as noted above, much of the severance tax burden is actually “exported” to the other 49 states. The tax burden analysis published by the Tax Foundation adjusts for this impact and ranks Wyoming as the lowest in the country with a tax burden of 6.9 percent.

Overall, Wyoming’s tenth highest in the nation tax burden needs to be put into proper context due to the high tax collections from their severance tax. Wyoming’s true tax burden on the average taxpayer is much, much lighter.

Of course, the tax burdens for local government can vary just as much as they do among the 50 states. As such, we have also calculated the local government tax burden for every county in Wyoming—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.

The Wyoming counties with the highest local government tax burden include: Sublette County, WY (14.6 percent), Johnson County, WY (11.5 percent), and Campbell County, WY (9.2 percent). The Wyoming counties with the lowest local government tax burden include: Goshen County, WY (1.9 percent), Laramie County, WY (2.1 percent), and Albany County, WY (2.3 percent).

Click here to view tax burden data by state, county, type of tax, and for years 1950 to 2013.

Wyoming State and Local Tax Burden Rank 1950 to 2013.jpg

Category: Tax Burdens

J. Scott Moody

Scott has nearly 20 years of experience as a public policy economist. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 180 studies and books. His professional experience also includes positions at the American Conservative Union Foundation, Granite Institute, Federalism In Action, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tax Foundation, and Heritage Foundation.

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