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Wyoming Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

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For a list of Wyoming economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.

WyoRECs™ Renewable Energy Credit Discount Program:
WyoRECs is a partnership formed in 2013 between the Wyoming Business Council and Powder River Energy Corporation (PRECorp) to offer discounted renewable energy credits (RECs) to companies interested in taking advantage of green energy to power their growing Wyoming operations.
Data Center Permit Exemption (passed 2011):
A mega-data center project, which exceeds $178.3 Million in capital investment, would be exempt from the requirement of applying for an Industrial Siting Permit through the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. This presents a cost savings of approximately $500,000 associated with permit application preparation, wildlife studies, economic analyses, public meetings, permit hearings, attorney fees, etc.

Financing

Organic Certification Reimbursement Program:
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Wyoming Business Council, it is designed to help Wyoming processors with the costs associated in becoming organically certified. Grants are available for Wyoming farms/ranches (organic producers).
Small Business Investment Credit Program:
The Wyoming Small Business Investment Credit (SBIC) program is designed to facilitate access to an alternative source of financing for Wyoming small businesses and entrepreneurs. Through this program, qualified businesses can obtain capital in the form of debt or equity financing.
Farmers Market Promotional Grant:
The Wyoming Business Council offers a $400 reimbursable grant for advertising and promotional materials to Wyoming farmers markets that can be used by a local Wyoming government agency, a Wyoming association, a Wyoming nonprofit organization (e.g., Chamber of Commerce) or a Wyoming Producer Association that conducts a farmers’ market.
The Business Ready Community Grant & Loan Program:
Can provide financing for publicly owned infrastructure that promotes economic development within Wyoming communities and provides publicly owned infrastructure that facilitates a specific businesses needs. Cities, towns, counties and joint powers boards are the primary applicants for the program. The typical maximum award is $1.5 million with a 10% match.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program:
Administered by the Wyoming Business Council, it provides grants to local governments for community and economic development projects and makes convertible loans based on job creation as well as other tools that may assist businesses.
Industrial Development Revenue Bonds:
Cities and counties may issue tax-exempt industrial development revenue bonds to provide financing for manufacturing and energy generation businesses. These bonds are issued within the State’s IRS allocation of tax-exempt bond financing. The business must provide a bank “letter of credit” to guarantee payment of the bonds. Interested businesses must apply for an allocation within the State’s volume cap. The Wyoming Business Council will coordinate this process.
Industrial Development Bonds:
The State Treasurer is allowed to purchase industrial development bonds issued by municipalities or counties for the benefit of Wyoming businesses. The bonds may finance purchase, construction and installation of buildings personal property or equipment, which will add economic value to goods, services or resources within the state. The purchase of these bonds is authorized by W.S. 9-4-715 (m).
Wyoming Partnership Challenge Loan Program:
The Wyoming Business Council can participate with a local lender on a loan to a business. The State’s portion of the participation maybe up to 35% of the project (maximum $500,000) in a shared note and collateral position with the local lender. Participation can be increased to 50% of the loan or $1,000,000 is the lender has secured a federal guarantee (i.e., SBA, USDA) to guarantee repayment of a loan made to a business.
Small Business Non-Profit Energy Audit Program:
A matching grant that provides for a level 2 energy audit up to a maximum of $2,500. A Level 2 Energy Audit will include quantification of energy users and losses through a detailed review and analysis of equipment, systems and operational characteristics. After the energy audit is conducted, the remainder of the grant may be used to pursue energy retrofits identified in the audit. Retrofit and audit funds are up to a maximum total of $5,000 with a 50% reimbursement. Manufacturers may use the audit to qualify for a sales tax abatement on the energy used in the manufacturing process.
Managed Data Center Cost Reduction Grant Program (Passed 2009):
It is a $2.25 million maximum grant that can be used to reimburse accrued utility expenses for power and/or broadband over three years. In exchange for providing these reductions in costs, the applicant (a Wyoming city, county, joint powers board) shall contract with the business to receive direct benefits and indirect economic development benefits including any combination of the following: a specific amount of capital investment from business, a specific minimum payroll created by the business, and/or the provision of discounted IT services.
Data Center Infrastructure Grant Funds (passed 2011):
A $15,000,000 appropriation to assist Wyoming cities, towns and counties to build necessary public infrastructure for the recruitment and operation of data centers.

Marketing Assistance

Sales are directly tied to marketing Wyoming companies’ services and products. The Wyoming Business Council offers help through several programs.

Cooperative Advertising:
The Business and Industry Division offers economic development groups and businesses the opportunity to join cooperative advertising in national publications.
Cooperative Marketing Program:
The Business Council secures booth space at trade and selling events to share, at minimum cost, with WY businesses and local economic development groups.
Marketing Consulting/Media Training:
Consulting and training helps Wyoming businesses fine tune their marketing and public relations efforts to reach their target audience.
Trademark Licensing Program:
The Business Council has an agreement with the Secretary of State to use the Bucking Horse and Rider logo.
Trade Show Incentive Grant Program:
Encourages state businesses to promote and sell their WY-made products to statewide, national and international audiences with grants to help offset the costs of the trade events. It is a reimbursable grant; and as such, the applicant must pay all expenditures before the grant award can be disbursed. The business shall function independently in performing this activity and shall assume sole responsibility of any debts or liabilities that may be incurred in regard to this trade event.
Wyoming First Program:
Assists Wyoming companies with the identification and promotion of their Wyoming-made products and services. Participants can use “Bucking Horse and Rider” design stickers and hang tags and have their companies featured in a catalogue and a Website.
Wyoming Market Research Center (WMRC):
Provides low to no cost market information to Wyoming businesses including competitive analysis, marketing lists, custom demographic and psychographic analysis, industry trends, government regulations, geographic information services, marketing material evaluations and original research.

Tax Incentives

Data Center Sales Tax Exemption (originally passed in 2010, amended 2011):
Requires a $5 million investment in capital infrastructure (building, walls, engineering, dirt work, etc.) in a Wyoming location in addition to a $2 Million or larger investment in data center equipment (servers, peripheral equipment and data center containers) and software purchases. If these thresholds are met the sales tax burden on the qualifying computer equipment is exempt. This exemption can be applied if the data center invests $2M in equipment a calendar year in the future. In 2011, the Wyoming State Legislature added another tier requiring a $50 million capital infrastructure level. This tier also requires the $2 Million in data center equipment purchases. At this tier the qualifying exempt equipment also includes uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), back-up power generation, specialized heating and air conditioning equipment and air quality control equipment.
Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemption:
The sales tax burden is exempt on the sale or lease of machinery to be used in the State of Wyoming directly and predominately in manufacturing tangible personal property.
Sales Tax Exemption on Electricity Used in:
The sales tax burden is exempt on sales of power or fuel to a person engaged in the business of manufacturing, processing or agriculture when the same is consumed directly in manufacturing process.

Workforce Development

Workforce Training Grants (WDTF):
Created by the 1997 Wyoming Legislature and administered by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, it assists new and existing industries in the state with the training needs of newly hired or current employees. Grants are available for up to $4,000 per trainee.

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About The Author

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager. In September 2012, she transitioned to a new role dedicated to developing online content for Business Facilities and Today's Facility Manager. Schwartz can be reached at [email protected]

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