Passage of a countywide use tax is one of the goals proposed by Franklin County for the upcoming 2014 fiscal year, which starts next Wednesday.
Other goals that have been put forward for 2014 include improving communication between elected officials and employees.
Not all county employees have email addresses or access to the county’s Intranet system.
The county wants to establish convenient computer work stations where employees can get online and receive county communications. The goals are set forth in the county’s 2014 budget document.
Another one of the county’s goals is to inform the citizenry of what a use tax is and why it would be beneficial.
Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer has been discussing the use tax for several months, saying it is needed to generate more revenue for the county.
He has said the use tax would not affect most Franklin County residents.
The use tax would apply to products that were brought out of state, not charged sales tax at the point of sale and then brought back to Franklin County, according to Griesheimer.
The plan is to put the tax to a vote of the people in April. The tax would be equal to the county’s sales tax, which is 1.5 percent.
Additional revenue is needed so the county can continue to provide quality services, Griesheimer has said.
The use tax is good for local businesses because it levels the playing field by taking away the incentive for people to shop for goods in another state to avoid paying taxes, according to Griesheimer.
At least $2,000 must be spent for the use tax to kick in, and it would not apply to goods that are currently exempt, such as agricultural products, he has said.
Griesheimer has also noted that the city of Washington already has a use tax as well as the surrounding counties of Warren, Washington and St. Charles.
The use tax discussion comes on the heels of recent law changes regarding out-of-state vehicle sales.
Counties without a use tax will receive sales tax for out-of-state vehicle purchases, but only on a temporary basis.
In order for Franklin County to keep collecting the sales tax on vehicles purchased out of state it must put the question to a vote of the people by November 2016. If such a vote is not held by then, the county must cease collecting that tax.