Letter to the Editor

No to local use tax

Thursday, April 3, 2014

In reply to the Southeast Missourian guest column of March 27, "Use Tax will help support local business," I'd like to add another dimension to the discussion. Messrs. Mehner and Gerau stated that approving the use tax measure on the April ballot would "put our local businesses on the same competitive footing as out-of-state businesses."

With all due respect, this "leveling" for businesses will mainly benefit car dealerships. There seems to be an interdependent relationship between local government and the Chambers of Commerce that serves to raise money but will benefit few businesses. The only ways the use tax will be collected is by license bureaus as a condition of licensing or on the honor system. For non-motor-vehicle items where use tax won't be owed on out-state purchases until the $2,000 threshold is crossed, only fear of a tax audit will prompt payment.

This issue will be of little import to the vast majority of local businesses except they'll have to continue to file and pay their own (if passed, then increased) use tax for items they have to purchase from another state themselves.

Unfortunately sometimes businesses as well as individuals need to make cross-border purchases.

Much has been said about lost revenue from vehicles purchased outside Missouri. If that was as big a problem as suggested, wouldn't there be car dealerships popping up all over East Cape?

Passage of this measure also will make us "eligible" for taxing Internet purchases when that time comes. Please vote "no" on use tax April 8.