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The Lake News Online
  • Laurie use tax narrowly avoids tie again, fails by 3 votes

  • After a tie vote in the regular municipal election April 2, a proposed use tax in the City of Laurie failed to gain a majority by four votes in a special election held June 4.
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  • After a tie vote in the regular municipal election April 2, a proposed use tax in the City of Laurie failed to gain a majority by four votes in a special election held June 4.
    There were 35 voting yes and 38 no.
    Turnout was about 12 percent, according to the Morgan County Clerk's Office which handled the election for both the Morgan and Camden county sections of the city.
    There are 584 registered voters on the Morgan County side and 11 on the Camden County side.
    The ballot issue proposed a local use tax at the same rate as the local sales tax, currently at a rate of 2 percent, to replace an old sales tax on out-of-state purchases of tangible personal property that total more than $2,000.
    The Missouri Supreme Court decision in Street v. Director of Revenue in 2012 changed the existing practice of many cities and counties by prohibiting collection of a local sales tax on a vehicle purchased from an out-of-state vendor. Collections were subsequently ended in March 2012.
    As a result, Laurie officials have estimated its loss of revenue at approximately $4,000.
    The tax measure previously failed in Laurie in the August 2012 election. In that election, the city was the only to have a use tax measure on the ballot.
    In the April 2 election, four other entities pursued the tax as well with the measure passing in Morgan and Camden counties but failing in Camdenton and Osage Beach.
    The entities seeking the new use tax also stated on the ballot that the purpose of the use tax was to eliminate the sales tax advantage that non-Missouri vendors have over Missouri vendors.
    The vote in Laurie earlier this spring tied at 92. On the Morgan County side of the city, 92 voted for the measure and 90 against. On the Camden County side, only 2 voters cast a ballot, both against the tax.
    The tie necessitated another vote.
    The Laurie Board of Aldermen had a choice of holding a special election with a polling place similar to a regular election or by having a ballot printed and mailed to each registered voter in Laurie.
    The board chose to have the special election with polling place. It cost the city close to $1,000. The option of mailing the ballots was about one-third more expensive than a regular type of election, according to City Clerk Olive Wood.

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