The key to addressing any problem is understanding why it exists. I was the first person to identify and document that Teton County has the nation’s greatest income inequality, so I have a clear understanding its two basic causes. At the top end, Wyoming's favorable tax and trust laws make the state an "on-shore off-shore tax haven." As a result, the large number of wealthy people living here make Teton County’s per capita income the nation's highest. At the bottom end, Teton County ranks eighth among America’s 3,200 counties in our proportion of tourism jobs, which are among the lowest-paying of all jobs.
No other US county has our combination of extreme wealth and large numbers of low-paying jobs. Hence we have America’s greatest income gap. Unfortunately, local government can’t do much to address the causes of the problem: the high end issue is a function of state, national, and global economic forces; the low end issue is a function of the tourism industry’s business model (hire lots of workers for low pay).
What local government can do is address the consequences of the gap by supporting workforce housing, social services, and the like.Read More