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Greene County Commission asks voters to impose use tax on items bought out of state

Voters will consider the issue in November. It would bolster county revenue.

August 19, 2013|by Gene Hartley |

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Greene County Commission voted Monday to ask voters in November to approve a county use tax of 1.25 percent on items that are bought over the Internet or by mail from places out of Missouri, and for vehicles that are purchased out of state, by Greene County residents.  The proposed use tax would apply the same rates to those purchases as Greene County sales taxes.

The county commission voted 3-0 to put the issue on the ballot in November, after having a heated argument about it last week.  At a meeting on Friday, Presiding Commissioner Jim Viebrock lobbied to ask voters to approve a new 1/8-percent sales tax to bolster county revenues, which are not keeping up with budget needs, including pay for county employees, who haven’t had raises in five years.  The other two commissioners didn't want to ask for a sales tax increase now but wanted to try for approval of a use tax, which state law says must be sent to voters in the next several months if a county or city wants to have one.


The tax could add about $3 million annually to county revenues, which the county's counselor says all can be added to the county's General Revenue funds (not split between parks, roads and other special funds as sales taxes are).

A use tax is a tax on the storage, use or consumption of personal property.  For items purchased out of state over the Internet or from a catalog, and for vehicles bought out of state, it replaces a sales tax but is equivalent to it.  For non-vehicle items, however, it only applies if the retailer that sells an item has a physical location in Missouri.

Greene County residents already pay use taxes because Missouri charges 4.225 percent.  Springfield residents pay an additional 2.125 percent; Ash Grove residents pay an additional 1.5 percent; Willard residents pay an additional 2 percent; and Walnut Grove residents pay an additional 1 percent.

The issue will be on the countywide ballot on Nov. 5.


Sales taxes and use taxes by county and by municipality in Missouri

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