In eight separate elections in Jasper County, voters on Tuesday said a resounding no to a proposal to establish a use tax for the county and cities.
The measure came closest to passing in Carthage where the count was 268 no to 203 yes. That's a margin of 57 percent no to 43 percent yes.
In all other cities, and the county-wide election, more than 60 percent of voters said no to the idea of establishing a tax on vehicles and other big-ticket items purchased outside Missouri for use in Jasper County.
The county-wide question only received 31 percent support, with 1,286 people saying yes to the tax and 2,832, or 69 percent, saying no. The margin was 539 yes to 1,009 no in Joplin and 105 yes to 230 no in Webb City.
County Clerk Bonnie Earl said 5.31 percent of all registered voters in Jasper County came to the polls to vote on the measure.
“It's disappointing,” said Carthage Chamber of Commerce President Mark Elliff, who came to the Jasper County Courthouse after polls closed on Tuesday to find out the results from Earl firsthand.
“This is certainly an important issue to both the city and the county,” Elliff said.
“It has the effect of eliminating close to $1 million in revenue for cities and the county.”
Residents of Missouri have long paid sales tax on cars, trucks, trailers, boats and other large ticket items purchased outside Missouri when they titled those vehicles in Missouri.
The state collected the sales taxes charged in Missouri, the county and the city until 2011 when the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the state's sales tax law was not written to allow the collection of that tax on out-of-state purchases.
The tax wasn't collected from January 2011 until August of this year when a legislative fix, passed by the Missouri Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Nixon took affect.
That law, however, required cities and counties that do not have use taxes in place to get a use tax approved by voters before November 2016 or face losing that revenue once again.
In Carthage, City Administrator Tom Short said the state told the city it lost more than $64,000 in revenue in the year that the use tax was not collected.
The state said Jasper County lost more than $300,000 in revenue.