By MARK EVANS
While a use tax would be beneficial to the county from a financial standpoint, Ste. Genevieve County commissioners are in no mood to try to sell voters on an additional tax.
The topic of considering a county use tax on out-of-state purchases was discussed during a 90-minute commission meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 24. The abbreviated meeting was held to take care of a few items, since the courthouse was closed the next day for Thanksgiving, the commission’s usual Thursday morning meeting time.
They agreed that internet sales hurt local merchants – along with having Illinois outlets right across the river.
Missouri was the last state to pass a state use tax. Each county has to put the measure up for a vote of the people before a count use tax can be implemented.
Second District Commissioner Randy Ruzicka noted that with the high sales tax locals are paying now, it would be a tough sell – and not one he would back. First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy agreed.
“Would it be helpful?” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson asked. “Yes. Do we need it now? No.”
They also discussed the annual Missouri Association of Counties meeting they attended at Tan-Tar-A. Nelson, who has attended the meetings for years, said he was “very disappointed” in the low number of vendor booths in the basement. Most years they can pick up considerable information and make important contacts by visiting with various engineers, contractors and equipment and merchandise suppliers who have booths set up. This year the vendor turnout was very low.
Still, for Ruzicka and Stuppy, attending their first state meeting, it was worthwhile.
“Networking is always important,” Ruzicka said.
“It was informative,” Stuppy said, “and a good chance to meet people.”
In addition to the use tax session that led to their discussion, they also attended a talk by Governor Mike Parsons, who warned of the danger of local entities relinquishing power to the state and federal levels.
“I couldn’t agree more about keeping it local,” Ruzicka said.