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Ozark businesses are asking residents to approve a use tax on online and out-of-state purchases.
Photo courtesy Ozark Chamber of Commerce
Ozark businesses are asking residents to approve a use tax on online and out-of-state purchases.

Ozark business groups advocate for use tax

Posted online

Last edited 1:02 p.m., May 20, 2020

After the Missouri General Assembly failed to pass a statewide use tax during the legislative session, Ozark business groups are calling on residents to approve a similar measure at the local level.

If approved in the June 2 election, the ballot initiative would add a roughly 2.4% tax – at the same rate as the local sales tax – on online and out-of-state purchases, according to a news release.

The tax was endorsed yesterday by the Ozark Chamber of Commerce, Show Me Christian County economic development organization, and the Love Ozark Committee made up of local residents and leaders. The committee has been supported financially by businesses including Ozark Chevrolet and Youngblood Auto Group, according to its April quarterly report with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

“With brick-and-mortar storefronts shuttered and just beginning to reopen due to COVID-19, local sales are down and many shoppers are buying necessities online with a single click," said Ozark chamber Executive Director Anna Evans, in teh release.. "However, many people don’t realize that these online retail giants are exempt from paying any sales tax to local municipalities.

"Local businesses, however, do pay a local sales tax.”

Love Ozark Chair Sarah Adams Orr said in the release that 40% of new taxes generated would be used for public safety, with 30% for parks, trails and playgrounds, and 30% for city facilities.

At the state level, legislators ended session last week without passing the so-called Wayfair use tax. It was identified earlier in session as a priority among lawmakers, before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

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