A Discussion of the Missouri Taxpayer Relief Act – Part 3

I appreciate Mr. Epps’ fervent defense of eliminating the sales tax on food. He is not altogether off-base but John McMillen has it right. It’s very much like a whack a mole game, you address one issue and they simply choose another to attack.

Mr. Epps is correct that the food sales tax is an emotional issue. He is incorrect that farmers will oppose it because of the food sales tax. We know through extensive polling, surveys and focus groups that with the production of agricultural goods being tax exempt with no sales tax applied until the sale at final consumption that the agricultural community as a whole does not oppose the proposal.

One counter argument to the emotional appeal of the opponents regarding the food sales tax is that it is highly likely the Catholic Conference and the bishops may in fact come out in support of this measure. This would go a long way to offset the emotional argument.

The proposal to place a sales tax on internet sales is actually already in place, it just can’t be implemented. There is nothing in the measure that would prohibit anything that is not exempted from being taxed. In fact, everything not exempted will be taxed. The problem with internet sales is that states cannot require a vendor who does not have a physical location in the state to collect and remit state and local sales taxes. It’s an interstate commerce issue that the federal government must resolve. Once they do, this measure is able to handle the outcome.

As I told Mr. Epps, the food sales tax is not the predominate issue being used against the proposal. The predominate issue is that the opponents are saying that it will cause a shortfall of $2.5 – $3.5 billion to the state. That is why the proponents and opponents have both brought legal action against the fiscal note summary of the initiative petition. Once that is resolved and we have every reason to believe it will be resolved in favor of no shortfall, the opponents will reach for other issues. The food sales tax may well be one of them but that simply illustrates the point that if not food sales taxes it WILL be some other excuse.

It is inaccurate to suggest that the proposal as exists is not in-tune with the best interest of the people of the state of Missouri. Mr. Epps has failed to show that to be the case. He has demonstrated his opinion that the food sales tax is a problem to the measure’s passage via an emotional argument. He has not demonstrated and cannot demonstrate that the measure is not in the best interest of the people of the state because it is. Income taxes are the worst form of taxation you can assess.

I found the new to me twist on history that our patriot predecessors rejected a tax on food to be interesting, knowing that the Boston Tea Party was the culmination of many grievances and the tax on it and the way it was accomplished represented the last straw. If there are specific writings from our patriot predecessors that they did in fact specifically oppose tax on food I would be interested in reading them. Is there a body of work similar to the Federalists papers that show that to be the case?

I am always glad to engage in discussion on the measure. At this point, the measure is already in place and approved for circulation. The court decision will clear the final barrier to full petition gathering. Until then, I believe the sponsors of the initiative, Let Voters Decide, will cautiously collect signatures as they have in the 7th CD. As I stated last evening they do so at risk since any change including the want they would want to be the outcome will result in the disqualification of any signatures gathered to that point.

Best regards,

Carl Bearden

Executive Director United for Missouri

(314) 560-4597



About bbollmann
A Missouri Conservative who like to rock... ...especially to the great music of Rush!

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