The estimate of lost tax revenues is being used by Sen. Mike Kehoe as one of his main arguments why lawmakers should enact a measure reinstating local taxes on vehicles bought from other states or sold in private deals between Missouri residents. The bill, which already has won initial Senate approval, is expected to receive a second vote this week that would send it to the House.
The legislation was prompted by a Missouri Supreme Court decision last year that said local sales taxes cannot be levied when vehicle purchases are made in another state. The ruling also applied to cars sold by one person to another, because sales taxes only can be collected from retail businesses. The court said a local "use tax" could be charged on such vehicles, but only if approved by local voters.
Almost all counties and municipalities had been collecting the tax on out-of-state vehicle sales before the Supreme Court's decision, but less than half had a voter-approved "use tax" and so have been unable to keep collecting the revenue.
State lawmakers reacted to the Supreme Court decision by passing a bill last May that would have allowed local governments to collect the tax. But Nixon vetoed the measure and said voters should have a say in whether the tax should be imposed. Some lawmakers launched an effort to override Nixon's veto over concerns that Missouri car dealers were at a competitive disadvantage, because customers were going out of state to avoid paying local vehicle taxes. The veto-override attempt ultimately failed.
Now lawmakers are trying again to re-instate the local taxes. "Who in their right mind would think it is right for the state of Missouri that we would tax our own local businesses, but not those out-of-state," said Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa.
This year's Senate bill would try to alleviate the governor's concerns. Republican Sen. Mike Kehoe, a former Jefferson City car dealership owner, said it's a "new version for the same conversation."
The bill would allow local governments to start collecting the sales tax immediately after Nixon's signature. But it would also require local governments to put a "repeal" vote on the ballot sometime between November 2014 and November 2016 in which voters would be asked whether they want to keep the local tax.
Kehoe said he thought his bill would be a "bit more palatable" to Nixon than the version he vetoed, because it lets voters decide whether to keep the tax.
One Senator said she was "a little nervous" about how the bill would allow taxes to be collected immediately without voter approval. But Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, said she still wants the bill's end result.
Since the issue has been unresolved, counties and municipalities lost $43 million in revenue between April and December 2012, according to figures compiled by Kehoe's office. During that period, $1.4 billion in motor vehicle sales were not subject to local sales taxes. Missouri dealers sold $5.1 billion worth of vehicles, which were subject to local taxes.
At the time of Nixon's veto, just 43 of Missouri's 114 counties and more than 90 of the roughly 950 municipalities had the ability to continue to collect a sales tax on cars not bought at Missouri dealers. Under the Senate bill, these local governments would not have to hold a "repeal" vote and currently can collect taxes on motor vehicles not purchased from Missouri car dealers. With Kehoe's bill still in the legislative process, some counties are looking to fix the problem on their own. At least 18 counties or municipalities have placed "use taxes" on the April ballot that would apply to vehicles sold in other states or between individuals, according to Americans for Prosperity, a group that advocates for lower taxes and limited government.
Fox 2 reports that the woman drove her car into the river near the Clark Bridge. The deputy saw the woman's car heading straight for the water. He stopped his car and dove into the water to help the driver. Authorities say both the woman and deputy are okay.
Police believe the woman may have been suicidal.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the car ended up several feet inside the business, called Going Bonkers, after hitting a front wall around 10:20 a.m. Friday.
Columbia schools were closed Friday, and officials said about 100 children were inside Going Bonkers. The business has a large indoor playground, arcade and other attractions.
Police were investigating the cause of the crash but say the driver may have had a medical emergency. She and a boy in the car with her were both unhurt.a
Martha Farris, of Pilot Knob, entered an Alford plea Wednesday to first-degree involuntary manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Sam Pratt. The plea is not an admission of guilt, but acknowledges that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to gain a conviction. Attorney General Chris Koster's office prosecuted the case in Iron County. Koster's office says an autopsy showed that Sam died of non-accidental head trauma.
The attorney general says Farris told investigators she swung the baby, "plunked" him down hard on a couch and elbowed him in the head. The case prompted legislation limiting the ability of Missouri child care centers to continue operating while charges are pending.
20-year-old Christopher Horton allegedly video taped himself sexually assaulting at least two minors. There are few specifics in the crime, but the incidents occurred in the last 7 months. Horton faces federal and state charges and he is being held without bond. If convicted on the Federal charges, he could spend up to 60 years in prison.
Police say the suspect robbed a Commerce Bank Thursday afternoon around two in the afternoon and got away with an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect is described as a black male standing 6'0" tall with a slender build. He appears to be between 30 and 40-years-old with a dark complexion.
Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect should call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.
Scott County Central School District superintendent Alvin McFerren told The Associated Press Friday that the school board has agreed to revise a handbook policy that prohibits same-sex dates at school dances. McFerren says the policy was adopted 10-15 years ago because students were attending prom as couples simply to save money - the couples price was cheaper than the individual cost.
The Southern Poverty Law Center on Thursday threatened legal action on behalf of Stacy Dawson, a male student who wanted to attend prom with his boyfriend. McFerren says Dawson can attend the dance on April 20 with whomever he chooses.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the school is appointing the head of its faculty search committee as an interim replacement rather than hire retired Army Col. Larry James, or a second finalist from the University of Minnesota.
James is dean of professional psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. His 22-year military career includes two stints overseeing interrogations at the U.S. military detention centers.
Faculty and student critics said James was involved in abuse of detainees. He denied the charges.
James had also coordinated mental health resources at the Pentagon after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Mark Woodworth walked out of the Livingston County jail at midday Friday and repeatedly said he was overwhelmed by the prospect of his new freedom. He thanked his friends and relatives for their support, hours after a judge's order releasing him on a $50,000 bond.
Woodworth has been serving a life sentence in the fatal shooting of Cathy Robertson, the wife of his father's farming partner. His latest conviction was thrown out in January when the Missouri Supreme Court ruled state prosecutors had failed to share evidence with Woodworth that could have helped his defense.
Attorney General Chris Koster quickly announced he would try Woodworth again.
A multi-vehicle accident this morning along I-55 caused some headaches for drivers. Emergency crews responded around 8:30 near I-55 and Lindbergh in Jefferson County.
KMOV-TV reports a truck hauling a trailer ran off the road and overturned in a ditch. Another vehicle then came to rest on its side. All northbound lanes of I-55 were completely shut down. One person suffered minor injuries.