Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer addressed the Gerald Board of Aldermen and the mayor last Thursday.
At their regularly scheduled meeting, Griesheimer asked the board to actively support a local use tax that will appear on county voters’ ballots in April 2013.
Last January, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that cities and counties can no longer collect sales tax on out-of-state purchases of trailers, vehicles and boats.
Griesheimer told the board that since March, when the ruling went into effect, county businesses have been hurt by the ruling.
“We are not that far from the Illinois line,” he noted. “When you buy a car there, you don’t have to pay a municipal sales tax, just a state sales tax.”
When a car is purchased in Missouri, local sales tax must be paid.
“This is going to be a jobs issue, it’s going to cost people some jobs,” Griesheimer stressed.
To replace some of the lost revenue, the presiding commissioner supports a use tax. Such a tax would be a way to collect tax for items purchased out of state.
Washington already had such a tax in place and it can currently collect two percent in taxes for items requiring licensing that are purchased beyond Missouri’s borders.
The loss of tax revenue to Franklin County could be as much as $1 million due to the Supreme Court ruling Griesheimer said.
“Is this a new tax?” Ward 2 Alderman asked?
“No,” replied Griesheimer.
“It is a new tax,” Ward 2 Alderman Mel Wurth rebutted.
Griesheimer conceded that it could be seen as a new tax.
He did not offer any figures as to what sort of revenue the use tax might bring to the county.
The county has not even agreed to put such a tax before the voters at this time. Griesheimer said the purpose of his visit was to acquaint the city with the idea and ask for their support.
There was no further discussion of the proposal after Griesheimer left the meeting.
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