Still To File Bills to Increase State Revenue

7 years 1 week 3 days ago Wednesday, December 01 2010 Dec 1, 2010 Wednesday, December 01, 2010 9:55:28 PM CST December 01, 2010 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia, said Wednesday she will pre-file four bills for the next legislative session aimed at increasing Missouri's state revenue. Analysts predict the state will fall $600 million short in revenue for the next fiscal year. Still's two main money-making bills are one that would collect sales tax on online purchases and another that would increase the state tax on cigarettes. Depending on how the cigarette tax is applied, the two bills could generate up to an additional $200 million or more each year.

The internet sales tax bill, dubbed the "Main Street Protection Act," would have Missouri join a 23-state compact and allow the state to collect sales tax from Internet purchases made by people in those states. Still says those companies already have a sales tax liability they don't pay Missouri, so this plan would not cost shoppers any more, but could bring the state almost $160 million in revenue.

"Online retailers already collect a sales tax from online shoppers," Still said. "If Missouri joins this group of 23 other states, the retailers said they would remit that sales tax to the state."

Still said Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation at 17 cents per pack. The new bill would increase that tax to 29 cents per pack. Still said this will not change Missouri's standing compared to other states.

"We could raise our cigarette tax by 12 cents a package and we would still be the lowest," Still said. "We are lower than all our surrounding states and lower than all the tobacco producing states."

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