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The Lake News Online
  • Potential tax breaks worry Osage Beach, Lake Ozark officials

  • The cities of Osage Beach and Lake Ozark are urging Gov. Jay Nixon to veto a series of bills they fear could seriously reduce their sales tax revenue.
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  • The cities of Osage Beach and Lake Ozark are urging Gov. Jay Nixon to veto a series of bills they fear could seriously reduce their sales tax revenue.
    Osage Beach Mayor Penny Lyons last week drafted a letter to the governor asking him to veto four Missouri Senate bills she says would significantly diminish municipal sales tax revenues if they become law.
    The Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen Tuesday night passed a resolution in opposition to the bills, saying the bills would adversely affect the ability of the city to provide critical services to its residents.
    In question are Senate Bills 584, 693, 662 and 612.
    Mayor Lyons’ letter said harmful provisions in the bills were added during the final hours of the 2014 legislative session with little debate or serious discussion about their long-term impact.
    City Administrator Dave Van Dee said the Missouri Department of Revenue estimates his city could lose as much as $310,378 annually. Osage Beach could be shorted more than $1.14 million, according to City Administrator Nancy Viselli.
    “Even if their estimate is double what the actual number is, it would still have a major impact on the city of Osage Beach and Camden and Miller counties,” she said.
    Lake Ozark’s Van Dee concurred.
    “For us to lose any of our potential revenue is problematic,” he said.
    As a percentage, Van Dee said the lost revenue could be a 12 percent decrease in total sales collected for 2013.
    Legislation
    Osage Beach and Lake Ozark officials say the bills awaiting the governor’s action either provide for a local sales tax exemption for certain businesses and sales transactions, or change the interpretation of sales tax laws that would diminish sales tax revenue to Missouri cities.
    According to Osage Beach officials:
    •SB 584 would give a state and local sales tax exemption for data/processing businesses; it would provide a sales tax exemption for energy and equipment used in electric distribution; and would modify how sales tax is applied to recreation and amusement venues.
    •SB 693 would create a local sales tax exemption for vehicles 10 years and older.
    •SB 662 would require the Department of Revenue to notify sellers if there is a change in the interpretation of sales tax laws that modify which items are taxable. If the DOR fails to notify a seller of the change, the seller would not be liable for the additional taxes collected until the seller is notified.
    Reaction
    State Rep. Rocky Miller offered an air of caution regarding the accuracy of the estimated losses.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I have not analyzed the governor's numbers on the exact effect the bills would have, but other municipalities have and they find them to be exaggerated,” he said. “I think anytime we can get more money back into the hands of the citizens without hurting budgets, we should do that. I have talked with several other municipalities and they have done separate analysis and say it is not consequential.”

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