People sound off on proposed use tax

Posted on 31 October 2017 at 7:02pm

COLUMBIA - Some Boone County residents are voicing their opposition to a new use tax proposed in Harrisburg, Columbia, Ashland and unincorporated Boone County. It would be like a sales tax, only for purchases made out of state, such as online sales.

Several opponents commented on a recent Facebook post by Fred Parry, Boone County District 1 Commissioner, R. They said they are tired of paying taxes.

Columbia resident Matthew Stone wrote, "Everywhere you turn, somebody is wanting money from me and frankly, I’m tired of it. You want it compete with online, FIND A NICHE! Stop taking money from me."

Paul Prevo, the owner of Tiger Tots, a daycare in Columbia, said local businesses should give their customers a unique experience in order to compete with out of state vendors.

"If local competitors really want to be on the same playing field, it's not about price, it's about creating that experience," he said. 

Parry's post was in support of Proposition U, which would create the use tax for out of state purchases. It would kick in anytime someone cumulatively spent more than $2,000 on out of state purchases in a given year.

Parry posted, "A use tax helps to level the playing field for local merchants who now compete with online retailers who don't charge a sales tax or a use tax. This really is about FAIRNESS!"

Parry said the tax would make up for revenue the county has lost to out of state corporations like Amazon.

Proposition U enjoys bipartisan support at the county level. District 2 Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson, D, said the money could be put toward law enforcement. 

"We would be able to more fully sustain the needs in law enforcement, to provide the sheriff with the tools he needs to be effective," she said. 

The tax rate would be identical to the respective local sales tax.

Each jurisdiction is having its own vote on the tax.

If Proposition 1 passed in Columbia, a two percent sales tax on out of state purchases would be levied against residents.

If Proposition U passed in Boone County, a 1.75 percent sales tax would be created.

Ashland would create a two percent tax by voting "Yes" on the special election question on Tax.

Harrisburg a would create a one percent tax if it passed Proposition One. 

The election is on Nov. 7.