For the fifth year in a row, the Missouri Sales Tax Holiday came and went, mostly unnoticed by Barry County shoppers.
The sales tax holiday was put into effect for the first time in 2004 and falls on the first weekend in August. But when the state of Missouri passed this law, they gave individual counties as well as cities the right to opt out if they so choose.
Each year, Barry County, as well as Cassville, have chosen not to honor this one single day of tax relief as it appears to be just too much to ask. But let's look into it a little further.
First of all, the tax holiday was put in place to give a small "break" to working class families with children who at that time of the year are spending their paychecks on school supplies for their children. The tax holiday does not cover automobiles, appliances or major purchases of any kind. It covers only school supplies, computers, computer software (up to $3,500) and clothing (up to $100 per item.) Jewelry, handbags, watches, etc. . . are not covered.
When you think of the items covered, and then look at the money this would cost the county as well as the city, this is really small potatoes. For example, if a family has two children, both around 10 years old, it isn't out of line to expect them to spend a minimum of $600 on the two of them. The tax rate in Cassville is around 7.5 percent. Two percent of this is city tax and around half of 1 percent is for the county. The remaining amount goes to the state.
This calculates to around $15 combined income that the city and county would reap from the above $600 purchase. But because the city and county do not honor the sales tax holiday, the parent not only misses out on the $15 savings mentioned above, but also is required to pay the state sales tax of around 5 percent ($30) on their purchase.
I have yet to know of any recent discussion of this issue by the city council or the county commissioners. Instead, it appears that they decided long ago that we do not need this holiday.
While this small amount of money would hardly be missed on the city or county budget, think of how much relief this would be to a young couple with two kids. This $45 savings would be enough for a tank of gas, enough money for groceries for a couple of days or perhaps enough to pay the water bill.
I would like to ask the voters of Barry County, as well as the voters of the city of Cassville, the following question: what does your commissioner or council person have to say about the sale tax holiday? Can you think of any reason it should not be honored?
Does your candidate support the tax holiday? Think about this before you vote.
Gail A. Purves