One of the organizations that helped develop and supported HB 1329 in the last legislative session says it will try another piece of legislation in the 2013 session.
Deputy Director Richard Sheets of the Missouri Municipal League says its attorneys helped craft 1329, which would have allowed local governments to resume collection of sales taxes on vehicles purchased from private Missourians or out-of-state dealers. The bill was created after a Supreme Court ruling in March that such collection was unconstitutional.
It had strong bipartisan support and was passed by veto-proof margins in the session, but was vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. The House didn’t bring the bill up to attempt a veto overturn, with Republican leadership saying it didn’t have enough support from the Democratic caucus.
Governor Nixon in recent weeks highlighted that overturning his veto would mean more than 122 thousand Missourians would retroactively owe taxes on vehicle purchases made since the Court’s ruling. That alarmed many lawmakers who had supported the bill before, and was seen as likely grounds for a court challenge over the bill’s constitutionality.
Sheets says the issue of retroactively was considered by MML’s attorneys when they were creating the language. “Their thought was to make this seamless in order to show that this was … had always been the intent of the legislature. That really was our point in this. This was not a new tax, this was not a new feature of our sales tax … that was the intent of the statute when it was written.”
Sheets anticipates another bill to be offered in the 2013 legislative session, taking into account the concerns over retroactively.
He says without those tax collections, local governments are suffering from the loss of a revenue stream they have enjoyed for decades. Enactment of use taxes at the local level can address that concern, but Sheets thinks the issue must still be addressed legislatively.
“Our problem is this was a tax that should never have gone away … this was included in the sales tax when the voters voted on this. We just think that there’s a lot of problems with this whole thing.”
Republicans have criticized Governor Nixon for not becoming involved in the development of the bill prior to vetoing it, but Sheets says the League met with the Governor on several occasions while it was being developed.
“The Governor really understood the issue and wanted to work with us and we met with the Governor, but he just could not get past thinking that another vote was necessary and we really disagreed with the Governor in that respect.
Sheets expects to work with Nixon again in creating a new bill.