Boone County commissioners want to implement internet sales tax

BOONE COUNTY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Boone County leaders are looking toward a possible internet sales tax to increase revenue for the county and local businesses.

Boone County commissioners approved the budget for fiscal year 2022. Included in the budget, is an idea to raise tax revenue for the county by implementing a sales tax on out-of-state internet companies. The tax needs to be voted on by residents before it can be implemented. Commissioners say they plan to add it to the ballot in April 2022.

Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill said the tax would incentivize more people to shop local.

“[The tax] would equalize the retail operations of local vendors to the big Amazon-type companies,” Atwill said.

The United States Supreme Court set the percent for an internet sales tax in South Dakota v. Wayfair. The court ruled states can tax out-of-state e-commerce companies.

County commissioners say the money collected from sales tax has slowed over the years due to the rise in online shopping. The budget says the only way the county will see a long-term increase in sales tax is by implementing the internet sales tax.

Mary Stauffer owns Tallulah’s, a specialty kitchen shop in downtown Columbia. Stauffer was excited at the prospect of an internet sales tax.

“I love the fact of it evening out the playing field for local retailers, which I think is something we’ve struggled with a lot in recent years,” Stauffer said.

Stauffer said her store has been able to bounce back since the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down for seven weeks.

“We’re so blessed to be living in a town where people are so supportive of local businesses, and we’re so fortunate to be so busy this season,” Stauffer said.

Commissioners also approved a measure to increase salaries for county workers by 4-6%. Atwill said this is to make wages for specialized positions, such as police or IT, more competitive.

“If we don’t pay comparable to other agencies, those people are free to move and they will,” Awill said. “So, it’s important to be comparable.”

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