A Teton County state legislator plans to propose a fee on unoccupied second homes, potentially offering a new way to counter the area’s housing shortage.
Rep. Mike Yin said he will present his idea to the state Revenue Committee during its meeting Tuesday in Laramie. The fee would apply to houses left empty for more than six months a year, and the Teton County Democrat hopes this would spur homeowners to rent to full-time residents when they’re not around.
“I was thinking about options on how we work on our housing issues in Teton County,” he said, adding that he landed on vacant homes. “The fact that we have so many creates a cumulative impact on the community.”
Besides simply reducing the number of homes available to local workers, Yin said, the abundance of empty homes also raises property taxes for neighbors. He argues that this fee would more fairly distribute the financial burden created by owners of second homes.
In its current draft form, the fee would be a flat rate based on square footage, and the revenue would go toward Wyoming’s Property Tax Refund Program. Each county would be allowed to choose whether to impose the fee.
The Revenue Committee will not be streaming the meeting, which will be held at the Laramie County Community College in Room 108 of the Pathfinder Building.
Read more in Wednesday’s edition of the Jackson Hole News&Guide.