Joplin Voters to Decide if Tax on Out of State Title Property Should Stay

Joplin Voters to Decide if Tax on Out of State Title Property Should Stay
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Joplin voters will decide August second if a long time tax on out of state titled property purchases should still be collected.

When you buy a car or truck at a Joplin dealership you pay city taxes on your purchase. And currently those Joplin residents who buy a vehicle or other titled property out of state pay the same tax when they get it licensed.

City finance director Leslie Haase explained how it generates revenue for the city. “Our tax 2.682 percent it goes to five different things.

It’s the general sales tax. It’s the public safety sales tax. It’s the transportation sales tax. It’s the capitol improvement and its parks storm water.”

A challenge at the Missouri Supreme Court means voters must decide if the tax on out of state purchases should be discontinued.

Haase said that could be costly for the city. “It would impact all those things. All those projects we promised the voters we would do. It means about five hundred thousand dollars to the city when our budget is exactly balanced right now.”

City officials aren’t just worried about lost revenue. They say the loss of business at local dealerships could eventually cost jobs.

Haase said, “Basically if this tax doesn’t continue,we’re basically incentivising people to go to the three neighboring states which are very close to Joplin.”

Roper KIA owner Jef Frost said, “If the tax goes away, then out of state dealers have a distinct advantage over what we can offer as far as price and payment to our customers.” Frost served as chairman of a city for the committee to determine if the issue should go to voters. The committee is putting it on the ballot August second.

But Frost admits the ballot can be confusing, ” I do think it is a little bit confusing. In this case, a no vote is a good thing. The ballot says do you want to discontinue yes or no. If they vote yes, it stops. Vote no it keeps going. It’s not a new tax. It’ been there for a long time. It’s really not something being added on just being continued.”

Some voters at the public library say the tax should go away.

Angela McPhail said, “It’s pretty much you’re being taxed twice anyways cause we pay a personal property tax on that vehicle anyway, So less tax is a good thing for me.”

While James Taylor said, “I think anything spend money, discontinue it .”

Other residents say it should stay.

John Lundy argued, “If we buy something from another country there’s a tariff tax, you know they have all kinds of ways to even the score. We need to stay competitive and we need to keep our police department and fire department going.”

And Joncee Nodler commented, “I think it’s a good tax. Otherwise local businesses could lose money cause people would go across (state lines) to buy cars and we don’t get the local tax support we need here.”

All Joplin residents can help decide with a vote August 2nd.

The issue failed last year when it was combined with a vote on use taxes overall which included internet transactions. The legislature separated the issues this session so the Joplin vote just deals with titled property sales taxes.

City officials plan an educational campaign on the issue.