Jackson use tax passage important to fund services

Thursday, March 28, 2019

An important issue on the ballot Tuesday for Jackson voters is a 2.5 percent use tax.

This is the third time in recent years the city has asked voters to approve a use tax with the previous attempts coming up short. This time officials outlined how funds would be used.

With the anticipated revenue between $600,000 and $750,000 annually, Jackson officials said the revenue would go toward curbside recycling, LED streetlights along East Jackson Boulevard between I-55 and Walmart and a new city swimming pool.

The use tax is applied to products purchased outside the State of Missouri and brought into Jackson. It's a way the city can tax items that don't already include a sales tax at point of purchase. Online purchases, for example.

A use tax is already in place for Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Perry counties as well as the cities of Chaffee, Advance, Dexter, Perryville and Ste. Genevieve.

Local municipalities face the challenge of maintaining sales tax revenue with the increase in online shopping. Local business leaders consider it a fairness issue: If their customers have to pay a sales tax, why shouldn't those who buy the same products online? It's a valid point.

Today's online economy presents a number of challenges for local retail. It's why we encourage customers to shop locally. Spending money at your local stores -- whether a big box store or small retailer -- helps keep more dollars in our local economy. That includes funding local government services.

Those who already shop locally will not be affected. Only those purchases that don't already include a sales tax will face the use tax.

For these reasons, we encourage a yes vote Tuesday on Jackson's use tax measure.

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