JOPLIN, MO.--- Four Area Chambers of Commerce join forces to support the Use Tax, which will appear on the November 5th ballot. Representatives want to make sure people understand this is not a new tax. This ballot initiative helps pay for police and fire protection services, as well as various other city and county supported fields. Most importantly, the Use Tax allows local business to stay competitive with out of state businesses.
"This is basically just bringing us back to where we were. Some people are going to look at it as a tax increase, but really what it is, is some political movements that were made to help it look like our taxes were lowering, but in the end, it's just negatively effected," said Josh Schmutz, Mid America RV General Manager.
Josh Schmutz is the general manager at Mid America RV in Carthage. He says without the Use Tax, the RV company has taken a major hit. If citizens vote yes for the Use Tax, it will allow small businesses to compete with out of state companies.
"If you're going to go across to Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and purchase the same unit for the same similar selling price, when you come back to register it here in Missouri, where you live, you're going to pay for the same amount of tax no matter where you bought it," said Schmutz.
The concern for many business owners is the lower tax for buying something out of state is an incentive to not shop locally. Schmutz says Mid America RV has already lost 8 to 12% of business because individuals cross the state line to make a major purchase. Gary Stubblefield with Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce says this is an issue that is effecting his town as well as Joplin and Webb City.
"We already saw what we were losing as far as tax dollars combined, not just within our own community but combined on a county level, and it's frightening," said Gary Stubblefield, Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.
The president of Joplin's Area Chamber of Commerce says a Use Tax will also help a community prosper.
"Sales tax gets paid to that community and so that becomes part of what helps that community pay for services, police, and fire and parks and recreation and all the other things that cities do," said Rob O'Brian, President of Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.
Representatives say if the Use Tax is not passed, cities and counties will suffer. Jobs will leave and services provided by the cities and county will be reduced.
"We have got to cut the loses and we've got to get back to helping our area businesses succeed and make sure their employees are secure in their jobs," said O'Brian.
A Supreme Court decision in 2012 discontinued the out of state sales tax - leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue in Jasper County alone. State lawmakers have temporarily reauthorized the tax, giving voters the chance to make the decision at the ballot box.
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