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The Lake News Online
  • Use tax on Laurie's, maybe Camden County’s, April ballot

  • The City of Laurie is going back to its citizens seeking to implement a 2 percent use tax. Camden County may see a similar issue in the near future.
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  • The City of Laurie is going back to its citizens seeking to implement a 2 percent use tax.
    The Laurie Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance Wednesday night to place the issue on the April 2, 2013, ballot.
    The board seeks to impose a "use tax for general revenue purpoes at the rate of 2 percent for the privilege of storing, using or consuming within the City any article of tangible personal property" as defined by Missouri Revised Statutes Section 144.600-144.761.
    This use tax would allow the city to replace revenue from a former sales tax on out-of-state and individual-to-individual sales of vehicles, boats and other large ticket items.
    A use tax return would not be required on purchases from out-of-state vendors if the total does not exceed $2,000, according to the language of the ballot.
    The old sales tax — utilized by the state and many local governments since the 1940s — was ruled unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court in January 2012. Collections were ended in March 2012 as a result.
    Laurie officials have estimated that the city will lose around $4,000 of revenue per year as a result. It is also possible that the ending of the sales tax — with no use tax replacement — could discourage people from buying these items at local businesses because buyers can pay less tax by going out of state for these purchases.
    A previous ballot issue by the city for a use tax in August 2012 failed to pass.
    At its Dec. 12 meeting, the board discussed placing the use tax question on the ballot again in hopes of better educating the public about the issue.
    Mayor Herb Keck said at that time that he believes that people voted against it because they did not realize it was a replacement and not an increase.
    Keck was not in attendance at the Jan. 9 board meeting due to health issues.
    The Camden County Commission will be taking a look at putting the sales tax use issue before voters in the near future.
    Associate Commissioner Cliff Luber said the sales tax discussion is scheduled for next week on Tuesday, Jan.15. The commission is expected to make a decision.
    "It is highly probable that we will. Road & Bridge has lost an estimated $300,000 that we desperately need for roads,” he said. "The key will be educating the public that this in not a new tax and simply replacing what was lost due to the Missouri Supreme Court decision. We also need to get out that this places an unfair advantage against our local businesses when you buy out of state and there is no sales tax to be paid to Camden County."
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