February 8, 2016

Research: Missouri losing hundreds of millions in sales taxes (AUDIO)

New research suggests Missouri fails to collect enough sales taxes each year to finance the budgets of eight state agencies

The study estimates Missouri loses about $468 million every year because it does not collect taxes on internet sales–and that’s just for internet merchants outside our borders. 

That’s more money than Governor Nixon recommend the state spend on the elected officials, legislators, and state judges combined (about $380 million).  It’s three times the revenue department’s proposed budget of $145 million; eleven times more than the agriculture department budget of about $40 million; more than triple Nixon’s proposed conservation budget ($146 million). It’s one third more than the combined budgets of the Revenue, Agriculture, Labor, and Conservation Departments, which totaled $343 million in Nixon’s January budget recommendations.   .   

The study has been done by University of Missouri professor David Valentine, who was the head of state senate research for 24 years. It estimates the state will miss out on $1.4 bilion in possible tax income in the next three years. 

The study has been released as lawmakers consider what programs to cut because of lack of state tax collections. 

Seven of our eight neighboring states have joined the 24-state streamlined sales tax compact that does collect internet sales taxes.  Missouri lawmakers have shown little interest in being the 25th state.  They’re waiting for Congress to do something and a federal internet sales tax does not appear very high on the congressional radar although Senator Blunt is co-sponsoring a bill that lets states enter the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement or create their own system.  The bill would give states more enforcement powers to increase collections.

 AUDIO: Valentine interview approx 17:00