COOPER COUNTY — The Out-of-State Use Tax is on the April 2 ballot because a decision by the Missouri Supreme Court made it impossible for Cooper County to collect a tax on certain purchases made out of state.
Cooper County citizens have been paying this tax for over 25 years so this revenue has been part of the county budget. The county's budget has included this revenue to maintain and improve its roads and bridges, provide law enforcement, operate the county courthouse and support the Cooper County Extension Office, economic development and other services. A decrease in this source of revenue may make it necessary to trim some of those services.
The Out-of-State Use Tax will NOT increase any taxes for any Cooper County business or person doing business with a business within Cooper County. Also, a Cooper County resident will never pay both the "Use Tax" and the county sales tax on the same item. The Out-of-State Use Tax must always be the same as our sales tax, which is 1.75% and if the sales tax changes then the "Use Tax" must change. Passing this "Use Tax" will lower the pressure to raise local taxes to make up for dollars lost to other states.
In addition to the lost revenues, local businesses are at a competitive disadvantage to out-of-state businesses under the new interpretation. This is because the out-of-state businesses do not have to charge a county sales tax on purchases while local businesses do. Keeping sales local would not only generate tax dollars for the county, it would help local businesses who create jobs and reinvest in the community.
Forty-three other counties in Missouri already have this "Use Tax" including Pettis, Saline and Chariton counties. The State of Missouri also has a "Use Tax" in place.
A "Yes" vote on this question will reinstate the county's ability to collect this tax.
For questions about the tax call the Cooper County Commission at 660-882-2228. Please leave a message if the commission is not available, they will return the call.