Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs discussed a possible “Use Tax” during the City of Vandalia’s Board of Alderman meeting held last Tuesday inside the Lange Building.
Hobbs was present at the meeting to provide important information on the issue as an item would need to appear on the April 2015 ballot and the deadline to file the item ends in January.
The idea of a “Use Tax” is nothing new to the voters.
According to statues passed by the general assembly in 1992, a statute that was in essence a “Use Tax,” it allowed cities and counties to collect sales tax on vehicles, boats, and RVs purchased out of state.
Then a 2010 lawsuit in Springfield, Mo. led to the Missouri Supreme Court ruling that the 1992 statute was unconstitutional for counties and municipalities to collect the tax since the tax wasn’t approved by voters.
With this collection stopping, Audrain County would lose near $200,000 and the City of Vandalia’s loss ranges from $30,000-$35,000.
The Missouri General Assembly then worked hard to fix this issue.
There is now a window for municipalities and counties to ask voters to pass the “Use Tax” by November 2016.
Hobbs said the county waited on putting an issue on the ballot as local school districts had bond issues on the ballot in recent elections.
There are 44 counties that have already had their voters approve the “Use Tax” initiative.
“It is absolutely a protection of your local business,” Hobbs said during the meeting.
Hobbs said the goal is for Audrain County’s municipalities and Audrain County to have the issue on the April 2015 ballot at the same time.
“We believe our message is stronger if we are all singing from the same sheet of music and we’re all on the ballot at the same time,” Hobbs added.
A January 7 meeting at 5 p.m. in the Community Room at the Audrain County Courthouse has been scheduled to help municipalities learn more about the ballot language.
With only one election scheduled in 2015, the goal is for the county and municipalities to save money and hold just the April election.
City Administrator Alan Winders noted that a failure to collect on the tax would result in a funding loss for capital improvement projects like roads.
“The bottom line, the only way to continue to collect taxes (is) to ask voters again, are you sure you want us to collect on what you asked us to collect before?” Winders added.
Read the rest of the Board of Alderman story in the December 17 issue of The Vandalia Leader or purchase an electronic edition subscription at https://www.vandalialeader.com/?page_id=33