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A recent issue of the St. Louis Business Journal reported that in January, State Senator Joan Bray will introduce again the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Act.
If implemented, this bill would enable Missouri to tax Internet sales of goods and services purchased by Missourians. The Institute of Public Policy at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a national study completed at the University of Tennessee indicate that for 2008 Missouri will lose between $378 and $591 million dollars in state tax revenue by not taxing Internet sales.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s position against this bill is that it would create a “nightmare of paperwork for many businesses". This is an inadequate reason for a state to bypass this source of revenue when it is faced with enormous budget shortfalls. Twenty other states, including Kansas, have already begun to implement this system. Further, internet sales undoubtedly will significantly increase in the years ahead and Missouri eventually will need to utilize this source of revenue for the state. Last, taxing state businesses, while not taxing internet sales is patently unfair to our state’s businesses and industries.
It is time for the Missouri General Assembly and, especially the Republican majority, to support the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Act.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.