Use Tax, Fuel Tax

Maryville voters rejected both Use Tax and Fuel Tax initiatives on the midterm election ballot Nov 6. 

A number of things were evident in the aftermath of Tuesday’s midterm election; Missouri voters are not on board with passing new taxes.

Residents in Nodaway County voted against Maryville’s proposed Use Tax, a bill that would have created a city tax of 2.374 percent on online and out-of-state purchases.

County election results showed that voters rejected the measure 1,704 to 1,396.

City Manager Greg McDanel said the decisions will have long-term impacts locally as the tax revenue gap between local retail and online sales continue to widen.

“In the meantime, online sales will grow at a rate four times the amount of local retail nationwide,” McDanel said. “Online sales will continue to reduce local sales tax revenues and available funding for infrastructure maintenance and economic development.”

Nodaway County residents will continue to pay sales taxes on those purchases to the state and county only.

If passed, the tax would have generated approximately $245,000 in revenue to the city.

McDanel said that City Council will discuss the results at the next meeting and go from there.

“It is undetermined when and if this measure will be placed back on a local ballot,” McDanel said.

A state-wide tax on motor fuel, which would have been the first passed in 22 years, also failed to earn a majority of the vote.

Maryville resident Jake Schonka said he voted no on the fuel tax.

“I just didn’t want to increase my expenses,” Schonka said.

The tax sought to increase the state’s rate by 10 cents over a four year period, adding $410 million dollars in annual revenue for the state road fund and Missouri Highway Patrol.

Northwest student Brent Farrell filed an absentee ballot from his hometown in New Florence, Missouri.

“I voted yes on that,” Farrell said.

By maintaining the current fuel tax rate, Missouri’s rate remains the lowest in the nation at 17 cents.

Communication Director for Scott Sarton said in a statement that the conversation for a fuel tax rate increase has to continue.

“The election outcome is disappointing, but seeking new funding for Missouri’s proven critical infrastructure needs was still the right thing to do,” said Scott Charton. “The safety of Missourians and our economic future depend on it.”

McDanel said the state’s rejection of the fuel tax will “continue Missouri’s ranking at 49th in the nation for roadway maintenance funding.”

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe said on Twitter that while he respects the decisions of Missouri voters, the outcome was disappointing.

“Tomorrow, Missouri will have the same number of bridges and miles of road to maintain today,” Kehoe said. “I am grateful for the work that MoDOT has done and am hopeful they will do you the best they can with the resources they have.”

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