Last week, lawmakers were in Jefferson City for the annual veto session, as well as an extraordinary session called by the governor. The veto session was brief, since none of the six bills rejected by the governor were overridden. Legislators seemed content to revisit the provisions of the vetoed bills again in the spring, if necessary.
During the extra session called by the governor, legislators restored a long-standing tax break for vehicle purchases. When you buy a vehicle, new or used, you can subtract the price of any vehicle you sold and your sales tax is calculated on the difference. Traditionally, the Department of Revenue has allowed deductions for the sale of multiple vehicles. If you sold a boat, motor and trailer to raise money to buy a new truck, the value of all three items would count toward reducing your tax bill. If you sold two cars to buy one, you deducted both the vehicles you sold.
In June, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that Missourians could only apply the sale of one vehicle toward a new purchase. The governor disagreed and asked us to take up the issue. House Bill 1 – the only legislation considered during the extraordinary session – passed easily and reverses the court’s one-for-one ruling. The Department of Revenue allows credit for sales within 180 days of a new vehicle purchase, so multiple vehicles sold between the date of the court’s ruling and HB 1 taking effect will still qualify for a sales tax deduction.
The week-long extraordinary session provided lawmakers an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and touch base with various groups that participate in the legislative process. Mid-week the Missouri Chamber of Commerce hosted legislators and honored members of the General Assembly who work to improve the state’s business climate. I was proud to receive a 2019 Business Champion award from the Chamber. The designation “recognizes state lawmakers who supported policies during the 2019 legislative Session to grow our economy and make Missouri a more competitive place to do business.” As chairman of the Senate Small Business and Industry Committee, I make it a priority to advance legislation that brings opportunity and prosperity to Missouri.
Returning to the Capitol also allowed constituents a chance to visit with their elected officials. I had the pleasure of meeting with several groups who stopped by during the extra session.
I especially appreciated visiting with the leaders of two institutions of higher learning. Dr. Lenny Klaver, president of Trenton-based North Central Missouri College, and Sedalia’s State Fair Community College President Dr. Joanna Anderson both stopped by the office to update me on their schools and the amazing job opportunities their students have when they graduate.
I also enjoyed visiting with members of Johnson County CLIMB during their Capitol visit. These young people truly believe that “Community Leadership Involvement Means a Better Community.” The 11-week program encourages citizens of Johnson County to become involved in community affairs. They really do represent our community well and I’m proud to encourage them and help however I can.
Let the Counting Begin
If you haven’t already encountered individuals representing the U.S. Census Bureau, you will soon. Currently, tens of thousands of temporary Census employees are scouring every street and back road of America in an effort to verify mailing addresses. Once that’s done, the official decennial “enumeration” of the U.S. population can begin. Census forms will begin arriving in mailboxes next spring.
It’s vitally important that everyone participates in the U.S. Census, which occurs every 10 years. Many federal programs distribute money based on population, so an accurate count will ensure that Missouri gets its fair share. Our representation in Congress, as well as how many votes we have in the Electoral College, is also based on the Census. Missouri lost a seat in Congress when the 2010 Census showed our population shrank, relative to other states. We don’t want that to happen again.
The Census is a time-honored tradition that is required by Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Missouri has a lot at stake in the count, so I hope everyone will do their part.
On a related note, the U.S. Census Bureau is looking for workers. The jobs are temporary and require putting in hours on nights and weekends, but they offer an opportunity for Missourians to earn a bit of money. Pay varies by area, but the range is from $14 to $16.50 per hour in the eight counties of the 21st Senatorial District. For more information, visit 2020census.gov/jobs online or call 1-855-JOB-2020.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-4302. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.