Senate sends 'use tax-fix' to governor

With no dissenting votes, the Missouri Senate this afternoon sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill that would re-establish local sales taxes on vehicles purchased in other states.

The Missouri Supreme Court last year overturned those taxes in cities and counties where voters previously had not approved a "use" tax on those purchases.

But the new law eliminates both state and local use taxes on the storage, use or consumption of motor vehicles, trailers, boats or outboard motors, then specifies that a sales tax is to be collected when the owner seeks to title the new property.

That change should resolve the Supreme Court's issue, Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said after the vote.

"It's called a 'sales tax,' because that's what you pay the state when you buy that car where you live," Kehoe explained. "Since we call it a sales tax right now, as the state of Missouri, it would automatically trigger whatever local taxes are in place to, also, be called a sales tax."

The new proposal is different from the bill passed last year, that Nixon vetoed because it didn't require communities to hold a vote to approve the tax.

The new measure also requires voters to vote between November 2014 and November 2016 to block the tax, if they had not approved it previously.

Jefferson City, Columbia and Boone County would have to hold those votes, but Cole County voters already have okayed the tax.

The new measure has an emergency clause, so it would go into effect as soon as Nixon signs it — if he does.

Kehoe told colleagues the governor's office has made no promises on the bill.

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