On May 14, the final day of the 2014 Missouri Legislative session, the state legislature inserted a series of retail sales tax exemptions into 10 different bills, and adopted them.
According to the Governor’s Office and the Missouri Municipal League, most of these items were (1) special interest bills, (2) inserted at the 11th hour, (3) not properly vetted in legislative committees, (4) adopted without any public hearings, and (5) contained no fiscal notes.
These bills would collectively provide over $756 million in sales tax exemptions for certain businesses in Missouri. The financial impacts of these exemptions are difficult to quantify. They are so "niche" that it would take a full year of revenue loss to actually quantify the true impact. However, the Governor’s Office has attempted to estimate these losses, and calculates the City of Harrisonville’s annual sales tax loss would be $492,742. Aside from Harrisonville’s estimated losses, Cass County could lose $2,272,867 annually. A $493,000 revenue loss would be the equivalent, for example, of losing eight police officers or eight firemen, or the elimination of all parks staff, or the animal control services, or the emergency dispatch services, or cutting our street department budget in half. The city would have to raise property taxes by 61 percent to regain this lost revenue.
We are asking for your help. Sen. Ed Emery and Rep. Donna Pfautsch represent this community in the Statehouse. Please consider contacting them as a private citizen and as one of their constituents and urging them to allow the Governor’s vetoes to stand.
Remember, the magnitude of these cuts is staggering and will severely impair our ability to serve our residents. We have provided you the facts as we understand them, without any spin.
The Legislature seeks tax relief – usually a good thing - but cities, counties, and districts were brought into this situation without our knowledge or consent. And we will bear the burden if the veto is over ridden.
We are appealing to the residents of Harrisonville to write letters to Sen. Emery and Rep. Pfautsch, urging them to allow the Governor’s vetoes to stand. It’s your choice, but Harrisonville could certainly use your assistance. Thank you.
Kevin Wood, Mayor
Keith Moody, City Administrator