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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'Let Voters Decide' Seeks 2012 Ballot Measure, Swap Missouri Income Tax For Sales Tax


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Group seeks to swap Missouri income tax for sales tax


Supporters of replacing Missouri’s income tax with an expanded sales tax took their first step Friday toward getting the idea to voters by filing proposals with the secretary of state’s office.
Backers submitted nine versions of a proposed constitutional amendment that could appear before voters in the November 2012 election. They generally would phase out income taxes while levying a state sales tax on more purchases. The sales tax would be capped at 7 percent and would cover goods and many services.
Missouri currently has a 4.225 percent state sales tax. Of that, 3 percent is for general state revenue and 1.225 percent is for dedicated purposes such as conservation, education and state parks.
Local governments also can levy sales taxes, including taxes earmarked for transportation and capital improvements.
For example, Cole County’s current total tax rate, including the state’s taxes, is 5.725 percent, according to the state Revenue Department.
Jefferson City’s current local sales tax is 7.725 percent, while Holts Summit charges an 8.725 percent total, and Columbia has a 7.350 percent total rate.
Where a transportation development district exists — such as the Kohl’s and east-side Walmart projects — the sales tax can be as much as 1 percent higher.
To get a constitutional amendment on the ballot, supporters must collect signatures from two-thirds of the state’s congressional districts equaling 8 percent of the votes cast in the 2008 gubernatorial election. That amounts to between about 146,000 and 160,000 signatures depending upon which congressional districts are targeted. Before signatures are gathered, state officials must develop a ballot summary and cost estimate.
The income tax constitutional amendment is supported by the same group behind a measure approved by voters last year to ban new cities from enacting an earnings tax and to require St. Louis and Kansas City to hold regular votes on their existing earnings tax. That group received more than $11.2 million in financial support from retired businessman Rex Sinquefield.

Ballot measure supporters said they have not yet decided which of the nine versions of the proposed constitutional amendment to pursue.
Some versions repeal the individual income tax, while others would also eliminate corporate taxes. The versions have different phase-in periods for eliminating the income tax. For example, one would repeal the income tax in 2014, and others would phase it out over several years.
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