Local sales tax on Election Day

Vote!With Election Day fast approaching, we’re seeing more and more articles on local sales tax measures that will appear on the ballot.

Any changes in sales tax have to be approved by voters, and in many places this year’s ballot includes a new sales tax to fund local initiatives. No one like paying taxes, of course, but these measures often receive a lot of local support—those who pay the tax are the same ones who benefit from the services it provides.

So what kinds of sales tax measures are appearing on ballots?

In Creek County, Oklahoma, a one-third-cent sales tax would buy much-needed equipment for the volunteer fire department.

In Rifle, Colorado, a three-quarter-cent sales tax would help pay for a new water treatment plant to replace the existing one, “which is old and in danger of failure.”

In Augusta, Kansas, a one-percent sales tax would pay for a new water line that would triple the amount of water carried to the city, without raising water rates or property taxes.

In Deridder, Louisiana, a quarter-cent sales tax would pay for renovations to the 98-year-old courthouse, which has a broken wheelchair lift and no elevator.

In Saratoga, California, a one-eighth-cent sales tax would fund law enforcement programs, emergency room services, and health insurance for low-income children.

In Jackson, Missouri, a sixth-cent sales tax would fund renovations to the public library.

In El Paso County, Colorado, a quarter of one percent sales tax would provide deputies for the understaffed sheriff’s department.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, a half-cent sales tax would pay for a highway improvement program that will create 40,000 jobs.

In Marion, Ohio, a 0.25% sales tax would allow for the rehiring of laid-off police and fire department personnel and help maintain city streets.

In Baldwin County, Alabama, a one-cent sales tax would go to local schools, which currently operate with less per-pupil spending than the state average.

All of these sales tax measures will appear on the ballot in November, to be either approved or rejected by local communities.

But if online retailers collected sales tax—which is already due on online purchases—these measures might be unnecessary.

States are losing out on $23 billion in uncollected sales tax every year—sales tax that shoppers owe but that goes unpaid because online retailers don’t have to collect it. That $23 billion would be supporting these kinds of projects and services without the need
for any increase in local sales tax.

Keeping fire and police departments staffed, maintaining roads, and supporting local schools without any tax increases—just more reasons to support online sales tax.

5 Responses to Local sales tax on Election Day

  1. Ken Miller says:

    I don’t know who writes these posts,but the home needs to take away his computer, before he tries to refill the ink tank. I have a question about sales taxes……Where does it stop? How about we tax ourselves to pay for the Japanese products we buy so Mama-san can get a new sidewalk? Or the Chinese can finish the 3 gorges dam? If the city of Rifle wants a new water treatment plant, why the hell should I help fund it? (Which we propably will any way so the politicians can “bring home the bacon”.) Do you think Rifle will help pay for a new flagpole out side our city hall? Outside of the usual chicanery, public funding-wise, I think it would be a great idea if Rifle paid for the plant themselves. “Nothing is so dear as that which is paid for by yourself” It really gripes my butt that people like you think I should collect tax for your goofy needs. Ken Miller

    • FedTax says:

      To clarify: These are all local sales taxes. If you don’t live in Rifle, Colorado, you won’t be paying the three-quarter-cent sales tax to fund the new water treatment plant. Only those who do live there, who have the opportunity to vote on the sales tax, would pay it. This applies to every item on the list. Only those who live in these areas and benefit from the projects and services they provide pay these local sales taxes.

      ETA: This applies to online sales tax, too. If you pay sales tax on an online purchase, no matter where the shop you buy from is located, that sales tax only goes to your state and community. It does not go to any other location.

  2. James Dumlar says:

    Prop 30 passed in California which was supported by our Gov. Jerry Brown. Statewide sales tax by a quarter cent for four years to support public schools. So close the count wasn’t known until today.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It sounds so great to just make all the online retailers pay but what you are suggesting affects so many other businesses. Take small software companies with one office and less than 5 million in sales. Selling in maybe 48 states and 5 countries. Trying to comply with the various states definitions of what is software, what is service, and all the various taxing districts is insane. Make it easy and business wouldn’t get buried by the process. Maybe then you could find people wouldn’t fight doing the collection. For every large retailer there are probably 1,000 small businesses that are affected. Government needs to learn how make compliance easy so that people can comply!

    • FedTax says:

      Thank you for your comment.

      Regarding your concern about complexity and burden – we completely agree your concerns used to be completely valid. However, those exact concerns are why we created our TaxCloud service. We designed TaxCloud from the ground up to resolve all of your concerns – please take a look and let us know if you have any questions.

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