At their January meeting, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors unanimously voted to endorse the Internet Use Tax measures proposed by the City of Columbia and Boone County for the April 5 general election (known as Proposition 1 on both ballots). If passed, the measure will allow Columbia and Boone County to collect city and county use tax, respectively, on purchases made by consumers who reside inside the municipality’s limits. The rate will be the same as the total local sales tax and both municipalities plan to allocate the funds collected by the use tax in the same way that sales tax is currently used, which funds important local initiatives such as public safety, public health, streets and sidewalks.
“This measure is critically important to our local brick-and-mortar businesses because it levels the playing field of competition against online and out-of-state businesses,” says Matt McCormick, President and CEO, Columbia Chamber of Commerce. “Proposition 1 will ensure that equivalent goods sold through both online and brick-and-mortar stores are comparably priced. Our businesses deserve an equal chance to compete for consumers’ dollars, and it benefits everyone in our community when those dollars stay local.”
The City of Columbia estimates that the use tax will generate an additional $5.6 million in annual revenue for the city, allowing the city to improve parks, streets, sidewalks, and make important investments in public safety and public health. “Attraction and retention of quality employees is a huge challenge facing businesses right now,” said McCormick. “Improvements to public safety, transportation, and amenities in our community can have a long-term impact on the livability of Columbia and mid-Missouri, making it easier for businesses to attract great employees and grow our economy.”
Governor Mike Parson signed a similar measure into law in June 2021, requiring online retailers to collect state sales tax beginning in 2023. It was the last state in the U.S. to adopt such a law.