Saline County Commissioner Tom Stallings spoke at the Sweet Springs Alderman meeting Tuesday, Oct. 9, about the out of state use tax. Stallings explained that the use tax is not a "new" tax, but that it is replacing a tax deemed unconstitutional in Jefferson City. Seven other counties have it on their ballot this fall.
"Back in January, the Missouri Supreme Court decided it was no longer constitutional for counties and cities in the state of Missouri to collect sales tax on certain items bought outside the state and brought back into the state," Stallings said. "Those items would include things like boats and motors and trailers and some construction equipment and things or materials I should say."
The use tax would allow the county to generate revenue where they haven't before.
"Now the use tax also gives us an opportunity to collect on some things that we haven't before, and that is heavy construction. If heavy construction is coming to the county, there is an opportunity, some chances, to collect on that construction material," Stallings said. "That is one reason we moved in August to put it on the ballot in November because you know we have that pipeline coming through the county and we were hoping to levy some taxes on those materials."
However, to be able to tax those materials the county has to store the pipe for Enbridge Inc.
"To get that tax we have to have a staging area in Saline County. A staging area is where the pipeline company brings the pipe and puts it on the ground before they ever put it in the ground," Stallings said. "It's just a storage area where they stack the pipe up for a month or two before they start putting it in the ground. We found that out on a trip to the department of revenue a few weeks ago. The department head told us that if you don't have a staging area you don't get the tax."
Alderman David Goode inquired about an appropriate staging area in Saline County.
"We have sent in some areas we've selected, several in fact, and they've shown interest in them, but they have never gotten back to us and answered point blank," Stallings said.
The commission is trying to go around to talk to different groups to inform the citizens of Saline County that this is not an additional tax, but it is replacing one that was stripped away, according to Stallings.
"We're just trying to reinstate a tax here that we've lost. We got an estimate from the Department of Revenue that Saline County could lose up to $100,000 of revenue in a year, in revenue that we have been collecting for over 60 years, if we don't put this use tax in place," Stallings said.
"The county has some real uses for the money in the future that they haven't had before," he said. If the use tax is passed the money generated could be used to hire a full-time prosecuting attorney to deal with the overpopulation at the county jail.
Contact Kelsey Alumbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org
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