No one likes to pay sales taxes. But without sales taxes, county governments would not be able to provide services at the level they do. The same can be said for municipalities.

Sales taxes have produced a total of $353,763,771 for the county from 1983 through 2017.

The county now has five sales taxes — three for one-half cent and two for a quarter-cent. Prop P that was passed in April is the another half-cent sales tax.

It was in 1983 that Franklin County with voter approval levied a half-cent sales tax for the general revenue fund. That saved a growing county from bankruptcy. Through 2017, that tax has generated $141,736,520. 

In 1989, because of the need for funds for road and bridge improvements, voters approved another half-cent sales tax to meet the need. Through 2017, this tax has produced $130,048,052.

The next sales tax came in 1996. Voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax for law enforcement. Through 2017, it has put $54,231,692 into the county’s coffers.

Then in 2007, voters supported another quarter-cent sales tax for law enforcement. Again, through 2017, this sales tax has generated $27,747,505.

All of these totals include interest earned from the taxes.

There is another sales tax that was added this past April by voters. It is a half-cent sales tax with half the revenue to go to expand the county jail facility and the 911 dispatching office,  and the other half to be used to supplement the salaries of law enforcement officers in the county and in municipalities. Collections from this tax will begin in October. It was called Prop P.

Legislation had to be approved in the General Assembly giving counties the authority to levy sales taxes with voter approval. Working with the Missouri Association of Counties, two former presiding commissioners of Franklin County, the late Ralph N. Smith and the late Hugh McCane, played a leading part in getting the sales tax legislation approved. They also were leaders in forming the Missouri Association of Counties.  

Are we overloaded with county sales taxes? Opinions vary on that question. One thing is for sure. If not for the sales taxes, Franklin County would not be able to provide services at the level it does.

The same is true for municipalities and their sales taxes.