The top leaders of the legislature suggest it’s time to review whether all of the things exempt from sales taxes should continue to be exempt.

Senate leader Tom Dempsey notes buyers of haircuts or movie tickets don’t pay sales taxes. But people who buy lunch do. Buyers of fencing for agriculture purposes don’t pay sales tax. But buyers of fencing to keep the dog in the back yard do.

Dempsey and House Speaker Tim Jones agree it’s time for the legislature to look at why some things are tax exempt and others are not. Jones, who won’t be back in the House next year because of term limits, thinks the study would be a good thing for his successors to take on.

                                   AUDIO: Jones  :19

Lawmakers have made big strides in reforming the criminal code. But overhauling the sales tax code, while a popular idea, could get snarled in sharply differing partisan philosophies. The criminal code overhaul began with years of study by the Missouri Bar. Dempsey isn’t sure a comparable tax study organization exists.

                                             AUDIO: Dempsey :21

But until that problem is solved, a John Deere tractor used to raise corn is sales tax exempt, but a John Deere tractor that mows the yard is not. There’s no sales tax on the movie ticket, but there is on the popcorn. Big equipment that prevents water contamination will remain sales tax exempt. But those water purifying doo-dads that fit on the kitchen faucet will not.