Guest editorial to local newspaper.
|For Missourians contemplating buying or selling a motor vehicle to another person, the purchase of that vehicle just became more expensive. On February 18, 2013 the Missouri Senate passed Senate Bill 182, a bill regarding levying a local sales tax on all motor vehicles sales.
Why did the Senate pass this bill?
Quotes from several elected officials, business organizations, and car dealers in a Southeast Missourian article titled "Sales tax fallout hits dealers, others" said a "level playing field" is needed between the car dealers in Illinois and Missouri. Whenever officials allude to fairness, bad things happen. One can conclude these officials support a statist approach to concentrating economic controls in a centralized government. Being "fair" to car dealers in Missouri can encourage centralization of all markets at the state level.
The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things. This bill violates the rights of local governments by intruding upon their taxing authority. The senators want to dictate to local officials how to run their communities. This is a huge usurpation of power by the state.
Each local government in Missouri has made a social contract with its citizens. The contract provides for public order, protection of property, and access to public services. Citizens and local governments determine the limits on rights and duties of each other. The Senate overstepped its authority by directing local governments to collect sales tax on the purchase of vehicles without a prior vote of the people. Although in some cases there are requirements to put the measure on the ballot, it is a deep-rooted principle to get voter approval before imposition of a new tax. The Senate's action smacks of governing at their whim rather than by law.
Even though SB 182 passed in the Senate, it must go to the House. The Senate and House need to reconcile the bill before sending it to the governor. The governor can veto the bill or sign it into law. But that is not the end of it. At any time, a petition with signatures from 15% of the registered voter in a taxing authority's jurisdiction can put the sales tax on a ballot. The voters can then nullify the tax.
It is time we send a strong message to the Missouri Senate by directing our local officials and state representatives to kill this power- grabbing bill before rather than after it becomes law.