Franklin County officials said this week they’re hoping state legislators will override a gubernatorial veto which would reinstate some sales tax revenue.
In January, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a ruling which said that local sales taxes could only be levied on motor vehicles sales occurring within the state.
The ruling was issued in the case of Craig A. Street v. The Department of Revenue.
John Griesheimer, a former state representative and senator and the current presiding commissioner of Franklin County, said that decision could cost the county anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million in tax revenue annually.
“We don’t know the exact amount, but at this point in the game, every hit is significant,” Griesheimer said.
Lawmakers earlier this year attempted to fix the issue — rewording the existing tax to be applicable to out-of-state purchases, and person-to-person sales.
The measure, House Bill 1329, was approved by the Legislature, but vetoed earlier this summer by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Griesheimer told other Franklin County officials during a working session Thursday that the bill could come back up in the House next month for a potential veto override.
Officeholders are being asked to go to the state capitol Sept. 12 to show their support.
Griesheimer said the holdup will likely be with House leaders, not with getting enough votes.
Overriding the veto will require 109 votes. Griesheimer said Republicans control about 105 seats in the House.
According to the Missouri House website, house.mo.gov, Republicans control 106 seats, with Democrats holding 56 and one member listed as independent.
That means it’d only take a few Democrats to vote for the measure to override the veto.
“When I was in Jefferson City, if you had a chance to override a Democratic governor’s veto, you did it,” Griesheimer, a Republican, said.
If the bill isn’t vetoed, and the revenue restored, Griesheimer said cities around the county and the county might consider going to voters to approve use taxes, which were exempted from the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The city of Washington already has such a use tax in place.
Griesheimer said going to voters at the same time would present a united front.
“If everyone did it piecemeal, we’d have far too difficult of a time educating and informing voters,” he said. “It’d be destined to fail.”
Without reinstating the tax, the area could lose not only revenue for city and county governments, but jobs and businesses as well, Commissioner Terry Wilson said.
“We’re close enough to the Illinois border that we’ll have people crossing the border to save money,” he said.
“Right now, I wouldn’t want to be building this new dealership on (Highway) 47 with this looming over me,” Wilson said, referencing the new Jim Trenary building currently under construction in Union.
State sales taxes, at the rate of 4.225 percent, are still being collected on all vehicles registered to Missouri residents.
Those buying vehicles out of state can avoid paying 1.5 percent in county sales taxes, however.
Franklin County levies four sales taxes — two half-cent taxes, one for roads and bridges and one for general revenue; and two quarter-cent taxes, both for law enforcement — on every $1 purchase.